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Zak O'Sullivan, Williams FW45
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Why F1 is largely a closed shop to new talent

Despite a plethora of ‘rookie’ drivers in first practice for the Abu Dhabi GP, and at the post-season tyre test, BEN EDWARDS points out it is even more difficult for Formula 1 drivers to make the jump to a race seat

The contrast of seeing 10 relatively unfamiliar driver names contesting first practice in the final 2023 race of Abu Dhabi versus an unchanged list of racers for the new season almost sums up the challenges for ambitious youngsters to step into Formula 1.

Test and reserve drivers are a crucial part of any team, and the current FIA rules insist that each car must be driven by a rookie for at least one practice session in a season. The opportunity to connect with the latest F1 machinery seems like a useful step for the newbies, yet insiders are aware that a single free practice session isn’t always meaningful.

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