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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen among top F1 names to miss Abu Dhabi GP FP1 as 10 rookies replace full-time drivers

Nigel Chiu

Sports Journalist

Ten rookies will compete in first practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leaving some notable names on the sidelines; watch every session from the the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP live on Sky Sports from this Friday at 9.30am, with lights out on Sunday at 1pm

Last Updated: 22/11/23 12:29pm


Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris are among the leading F1 names who will not take part in the first practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Formula 1 teams require to run a rookie in each of their cars during the season and most outfits have left it until the final race of the season – live on Sky Sports F1 – to complete the obligation.

Challenging venues where the full-time drivers need to get up to speed, such as Singapore, Suzuka and Las Vegas, plus Sprint weekends in Qatar, USA and Brazil, have contributed to 10 rookies running this Friday in Abu Dhabi.

McLaren and Williams have the benefit of a full-time rookie in their teams, Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant, so they only need to put one other rookie in their car whereas everyone else must have run two by the end of the weekend.

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Red Bull: Isack Hadjar and Jake Dennis

Neither Verstappen or Sergio Perez will be competing in FP1 as Red Bull have not ran a rookie this year. Nyck de Vries’ mid-season departure from AlphaTauri meant Liam Lawson drove for the sister team and that scuppered plans to put the New Zealander in the Red Bull at some point this season.

Formula 2 driver Isack Hadjar drove in Mexico City, but for AlphaTauri, and will now get his hands on the world championship-winning car alongside Britain’s Jake Dennis.

Dennis is the reigning Formula E world champion and has been Red Bull’s development and simulator driver since 2018.

Jake Dennis is the 2023 Formula E world champion

Jake Dennis is the 2023 Formula E world champion

Mercedes: Frederik Vesti

Frederik Vesti will take over Hamilton’s cockpit, having driven George Russell’s car in Mexico City. Vesti finished that session in 19th but didn’t do any flying laps.

The Mercedes junior driver is second in the Formula 2 championship coming into this weekend’s finale in Abu Dhabi – which you can also see live all weekend on Sky Sports F1.

Ferrari: Robert Shwartzman

Robert Shwartzman was at the wheel of Carlos Sainz’s car in FP1 at the Dutch Grand Prix and was last of those with a lap time on the board.

He also drove in Abu Dhabi FP1 last year and was half a second behind Charles Leclerc. In 2023, the Russian has been competing in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup and replaces Leclerc on Friday morning.

Robert Shwartzman is Ferrari's F1 reserve driver

Robert Shwartzman is Ferrari’s F1 reserve driver

McLaren: Pato O’Ward

Pato O’Ward takes over Norris’ seat in first practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in his second F1 outing on a race weekend.

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O’Ward finished 18th in Abu Dhabi FP1 last year and was fourth in the IndyCar championship this season.

Aston Martin: Felipe Drugovich

Felipe Drugovich will remain as Aston Martin’s reserve driver for 2024 and drove at the Italian GP in September, where he was 18th.

Drugovich is the 2022 Formula 2 champion and was linked to a potential Williams seat for next year, but that will not happen. The Brazilian will be in Fernando Alonso’s car on Friday.

Felipe Drugovich will get another chance to impress in an F1 car in Abu Dhabi

Felipe Drugovich will get another chance to impress in an F1 car in Abu Dhabi

Alpine: Jack Doohan

Jack Doohan competed in both Mexico and Abu Dhabi FP1 sessions last season and will have done the same this year as he replaces Esteban Ocon.

Doohan, who is fourth in the Formula 2 standings, is the son son of five-time 500cc motorbike world champion Mick Doohan.

Williams: Zak O’Sullivan

British driver Zak O’Sullivan’s runner-up spot in Formula 3 this year has been rewarded with an F1 practice debut for Williams in Abu Dhabi.

The 18-year-old was second to champion Gabriel Bortoleto and has been part of the Williams Driver Academy since 2022. O’Sullivan will take over Alex Albon’s cockpit.

Williams junior Zak O'Sullivan will step up to Formula 2 next year

Williams junior Zak O’Sullivan will step up to Formula 2 next year

AlphaTauri: No rookie drivers

AlphaTauri are the only team to complete the mandatory rookie requirements after Lawson drove Daniel Ricciardo’s car for five race weekends in the Netherlands, Italy, Singapore, Japan and Qatar.

The team also put Hadjar in Yuki Tsunoda’s seat for FP1 in Mexico City to meet the regulations.

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Alfa Romeo: Theo Pourchaire

Theo Pourchaire had a nightmare in Mexico City as he didn’t even complete a timed lap due to a mechanical issue. He’s back for Abu Dhabi though in Zhou Guanyu’s car, where he hopes to get some F1 mileage under his belt.

Pourchaire will also look to secure the Formula 2 title as he is 25 points ahead of Vesti.

Theo Pourchaire will be hoping for more luck in Abu Dhabi this Friday after barely any running in Mexico

Theo Pourchaire will be hoping for more luck in Abu Dhabi this Friday after barely any running in Mexico

Haas: Oliver Bearman

Oliver Bearman was arguably the most impressive of the five rookies who drove in Mexico City FP1 as he finished 15th and got plenty of praise from Haas.

The 18-year-old Brit replaces Nico Hulkenberg for first practice in Abu Dhabi and is a four-time race winner in his maiden Formula 2 campaign this year.

El deporte es una actividad física y competitiva que involucra habilidades, destrezas y esfuerzo físico. Se practica en todo el mundo y puede ser individual o en equipo. Los deportes fomentan la salud, la camaradería y la competencia sana, y varían desde deportes al aire libre como el fútbol y el tenis hasta deportes de interior como el baloncesto y el ajedrez. Cada deporte tiene sus propias reglas y objetivos, pero todos promueven un estilo de vida activo y saludable.

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