AlphaTauri will fulfil half of Formula 1’s new mandatory obligations by letting New Zealand’s Liam Lawson take the wheel in the first free practice (FP1) of the Belgium Grand Prix.
Under the new guidelines for the 2022 season, each race driver is required to vacate their seat for one free practice session in order to give junior and up-and-coming drivers more meaningful tack time. But at the same time, only the drivers who have made less than two starts qualify for the opportunity with the teams free to choose when to run the drivers.
It means that despite Haas announcing that former F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi will drive in FP1 in Italy and the United States, they will still need a rookie to take over the wheel sometime soon.
Some drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez have already fulfilled the obligation by giving up their practice sessions in France and Spain respectively while Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, locked in a battle for the Championship, are yet to hand off their drives this season but must do so before the end.
Ferrari has confirmed that Robert Shwartzman will take over their car whenever Leclerc or Carlos Sainz step out.
Liam Lawson will pull a double duty after the FP1 session as the 20-year-old will resume the Formula 2 season with his junior series campaign for the Carlin squad.
He is currently eighth in the standings.