Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen are both to miss FP1 for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Formula E champion Jake Dennis and Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar to drive the RB19.

Since 2022, Formula 1 teams have been required to use rookie drivers on at least two occasions during FP1 each season – one outing per car.

This season, teams have been faced with the challenge of fitting in these outings around six Sprint events, difficult and unfamiliar circuits as well as testing for Pirelli’s 2024 rubber.

With this weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix a Sprint weekend and then Las Vegas a new circuit, five teams elected to field rookie drivers in FP1 in Mexico last Friday.

That included AlphaTauri, who handed Isack Hadjar his debut appearance in an F1 car in the AT04 in place of Yuki Tsunoda.

AlphaTauri’s lineup has already featured two rookies, but Tsunoda was obliged to give up an FP1 session as Liam Lawson effectively filled Nyck De Vries’ seat in Daniel Ricciardo’s absence.

The plan was for Lawson to turn out for Red Bull, but the Kiwi is no longer classified as a rookie after filling in for Ricciardo in the races from Zandvoort through to Qatar.

Unusually, Red Bull is planning to sideline both Perez and Verstappen simultaneously to fulfil its rookie obligations at the season finale.

On Friday in Mexico City, Horner confirmed that Dennis and Hadjar would be the two who step into the title-winning Red Bull 2023 car in FP1 at the Yas Marina Circuit.

“Well, we’re obviously planning to do that in Abu Dhabi in the last – if you like – standard race of the year at a circuit that we’ve got quite a bit of data on,” Horner explained.

“So in the heat of the day, that first session in Abu Dhabi tends to have not a great deal of car set-up value so that’s when we’re going to elect to put both rookie drivers in our cars. 

“Jake Dennis is going to be driving one of the cars and Isack [Hadjar] will be in the other car so it was good to see him put in a strong performance with Franz’s [Tost] team today.”

Isack Hadjar (FRA) Red Bull Junior Driver.
21.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Preparation Day.
–, EMail: © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

Hadjar currently sits 14th in the Formula 2 championship standings ahead of the final round of the campaign in Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, reigning Formula E champion Jake Dennis will also occupy a seat in the RB19 in Abu Dhabi.

The 28-year-old has served as a simulator and development driver for the Austrian side since 2018. That same year, he completed outings in the RB14 in both Spain and Hungary.

Picking up two wins and nine podiums in the 2022-23 Formula E season en route to title glory, Dennis’ success already qualifies him for an FIA super license.

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