McLaren back plans for Friday young driver running

Jamie Woodhouse
The McLaren F1 team logo. Spain, February 2020.

The logo of the McLaren Formula 1 team on display at winter testing. Spain, February 2020.

McLaren are fully behind the idea to create in-season sessions where it would be mandatory to run a young driver.

While McLaren do not currently have a junior driver close to breaking into Formula 1, there are several others teams with bright academy prospects who are struggling to find a route into Formula 1.

Under the current rules, FP1 and FP2 are available if teams wish to put a reserve or junior driver in the car, though talks are ongoing to potentially make it compulsory for young drivers to take part in one of those Friday sessions.

And it is a concept which McLaren’s principal Andreas Seidl supports, confirming that the team have relayed this stance during the talks.

“We were very supportive in putting mandatory sessions in place at the post-season tests, or even during the season in practice sessions to allow rookies to do official sessions,” he said, as quoted by Autosport.

“It’s very hard for rookies nowadays with all the limited testing to get seat time.

“So we’re very happy with that, and we are also in favour to promote this even further more. it is the discussion we are having with the others teams, FIA and F1 going forward.

“I suppose we are looking into who we actually want to give the chance to be in our car for these sessions. That’s a process that is ongoing at the moment. Absolutely happy with that.”

Lando Norris pits. Hungary August 2021

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Seidl is keen though for this to be a gradual transition, with the number of sessions for young drivers increasing over time.

“It also makes sense that we introduce that gradually,” Seidl proposed.

“Next year we speak about two or three practice sessions so it’s a good first step.

“But then I think moving forward we would be also happy to ramp this number of sessions up.

“It’s good to have this also mandatory, so it’s in the end, from a sporting perspective, the same for each team, and fair in the end. That’s why we were very supportive with putting that in place.”