F2 racers react to F1 young driver practices

Jon Wilde
Juri Vips ahead of Felipe Drugovich in an F2 race. Baku June 2021.

Juri Vips ahead of Felipe Drugovich during a Formula 2 race in Azerbaijan. Baku June 2021.

Formula 2 racers have understandably given the thumbs-up to news that F1 is to introduce mandatory practice sessions for young drivers next year.

Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s motorsports managing director, has said the final details are being ironed out for a rule whereby “on a certain number of occasions” all teams will have to run a rookie in FP1.

With F1 testing much more restricted than in the past, it will open up valuable opportunities for youngsters to gain experience in the cars along the pathway to competing in the sport.

The rule will suit in particular those drivers that are attached to academies, but also offers chances for others who do not enjoy that advantage.

Felipe Drugovich finds himself in the latter category, the 21-year-old Brazilian currently finding himself ninth in the Formula 2 Championship behind Alpine-affiliated leading duo Oscar Piastri and Guanyu Zhou.

“I think it really helps to get more mileage,” said Drugovich, quoted by Motorsport Week.

“Many of the teams are not aware of what some drivers can do or if they can be fast enough. As soon as they are put into their cars, they see we can be fast.

“I think that’s what will happen with some people and obviously there’s a chance for drivers that can’t show their speed in any other way, maybe in the F2 Championship, they can express that directly to a team.

“I think that’s a good opportunity. Hopefully I can get some opportunities next year.”

Felipe Drugovich celebrates on the podium after a Formula 2 race. Monaco May 2021.
Felipe Drugovich celebrates on the podium after finishing third in a Formula 2 race. Monaco May 2021.

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The latter comment should also apply to Juri Vips, a Red Bull junior driver who could therefore get a couple of bites at the cherry with AlphaTauri being another potential option.

“Of course it makes it better for all the reserve drivers and all the people in the junior academies,” said the Estonian.

“Even people who aren’t in junior academies. Because it’s mandatory, teams that don’t have junior academies like Aston Martin and McLaren, they will have to run people too.

“It’s good for all the junior drivers in general. I agree with Felipe, some people can sort of shine in junior single-seaters, some people that shine less can be faster in an F1 car.

“So I think we can see quite a lot of that. It’s just a good opportunity for all younger drivers to show what they are capable of.”


Robert Shwartzman is a Ferrari Academy driver and, as things stand, an obvious candidate to run for the Scuderia in a Friday practice session.

“It’s really nice that generally the rookies can get the possibility to run an F1 car because it’s something special,” said the Russian.

“I think also it might be interesting for the teams because in my opinion, a rookie or new driver can give something new to the team, some new information they can use in the future.

“I really hope it will work well and that the F1 teams can appreciate that. Likewise for the drivers.

“It’s going to be well managed from both sides and maybe also for some of the drivers in the future, the team might consider them in the future as potential F1 drivers.”