Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are set to sit out the opening practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as they hand over their cars to reigning Formula E champion Jake Dennis and FIA F2 driver Isack Hadjar in the season-closing round.
Formula 1 teams are obliged to offer at least two first free practice sessions to a rookie over the course of the year. With most of the outfits having refused to run a rookie driver at their cars so far in 2023, the closing stages of the current season will see many race drivers sit out the opening session in one of the remaining four rounds.
Red Bull are also yet to run drivers who have completed no more than two F1 races. The reigning world champion team have now decided that their race drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will sit out the opening practice of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Reigning Formula E champion Jake Dennis and Formula 2 driver Isack Hadjar will participate in FP1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Red Bull. which means that neither Verstappen nor Perez will drive in the opening session at the Yas Marina Circuit. However, given the schedule of that weekend it will be less a hindrance for their preparation as the first and the third session take place in daylight hence in very different conditions compared to the others sessions of the weekend.
Hadjar became AlphaTauri and Red Bull Racing's new reserve driver after Liam Lawson filled in for the injured Daniel Ricciardo at the Dutch Grand Prix. Before driving for Red Bull in Abu Dhabi, the French-Algerian driver will already complete his first F1 outing at this weekend's Mexico City Grand Prix, driving for AlphaTauri.
Other drivers who are set for FP1 runs this season are Alpine’s Jack Doohan – in Mexico and Abu Dhabi, Mercedes’ Frederik Vesti – in Mexico, Haas’ Oliver Bearman – in Mexico and Abu Dhabi, McLaren’s Pato O’Ward – in Abu Dhabi, Ferarri’s Robert Shwartzman – in Abu Dhabi, Aston Martin’s Felipe Drugovich – in Abu Dhabi and Alfa Romeo’s Theo Pourchaire.