F1 Should Return to Friday Rookie Sessions - Minardi

Former F1 team boss Giancarlo Minardi has urged the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to tweak the Friday practice session rules in Formula 1 as soon as possible, in order to allow younger drivers to have a shot at driving an F1 car.

With the in-season testing ban imposed by the FIA in recent years, the possibility of a young gun driving an F1 racer throughout the season is practically non-existent, unless a team allows him to drive during some Friday practice sessions. According to Minardi, the FIA should make rookie sessions on Friday mandatory.

With this change of rules, not only F1 will see some fresh blood on the track every racing weekend, but talented young drivers will get to gain experience at the wheel of and F1 challenger.

We should go back to the Friday practice where it is required that each team should run at least one of the two sessions with a rookie,” said the former team owner, according to

Do not forget that these sessions gave Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica their chance. It is clear that the rookie will need sponsorship, but the figures will be affordable, compared to the 10-15 million now required in order to secure a race seat.

Today we are in a cycle where some drivers will soon be looking at retirement and who will take their place? Without test days, you won't find a replacement for the likes of Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli. (...) Returning to running rookie drivers in Friday tests would better prepare them for F1.”

In recent years, several racers have debuted or returned to F1 racing without any prior test - Jaime Alguersuari, Romain Grosjean, Luca Badoer and Kamui Kobayashi - causing the FIA to tweak the rules for rookie drivers in F1. According to the current regulations, reserve drivers who haven't competed in a race throughout the last 2 years of Formula One may conduct a complete testing session prior to their debut.
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