Formula 1 wants to see young talented drivers more often in free practice sessions during race weekends.
In this way, the upcoming generation can also make kilometres and gain experience in a Formula 1 car, argued director Stefano Domenicali of the highest motorsport class in Monza, where the Grand Prix of Italy will be held this weekend.
“We will definitely talk about that in the next meeting with the teams in October. Our commitment is to mandate the presence of a young driver in free practice,” he told Autosport.com.
New rules for free practice sessions are necessary, according to Domenicali, because, among other things, the number of test opportunities on the circuits has decreased drastically in recent years. For example, there were only three days of testing this spring in Bahrain, compared to two four days of testing in the past. In addition, the duration of free practice sessions during the GPs has also been reduced from 1.5 to 1 hour, while the introduction of sprint races has further reduced the number of training hours during the race weekends.
“In my day, we were on track every day, and we tested 90,000 kilometres, but nowadays those kilometres are made in the simulator. For healthy growth in Formula 1, it is not a favourable development if young drivers are not given the opportunity to show what they can do,” says Domenicali.
The Italian argues that teams must have one of their talents drive during free practice sessions. This will be at the expense of the test time for the regular competition drivers. “It has two advantages: the teams have even less time to prepare their cars for the race, which increases the tension. And for the youngsters, it is the chance to gain experience in the dynamics of a Formula 1 race weekend, and that is important to Formula 1.”