The first free practice sessions of the United States Grand Prix 2022 were a unique opportunity for several names to make their mark in the highest category of motorsport, since some teams used that practice to put a rookie and meet the FIA ‘s demands for put a rookie in at least two official sessions in one weekend throughout the season.
This is how the premiere of Alex Palou , Théo Pourchaire , Logan Sargeant and Robert Shwartzman arrived , and although Haas chose to mount Antonio Giovinazzi, someone with experience in the Great Circus, the Italian can be considered as a candidate for some of the seats. free left on the grill.
Robert Shwartzman, the Ferrari candidate with few options
The best of those who debuted was the Russian with an Israeli Ferrari license, who put his F1-75 in 16th place, more than two seconds behind his teammate, Carlos Sainz, who was the fastest in FP1 at the Circuit of the Americas. Shwartzman , aware that at the moment the doors are closed in Formula 1, could be an option to consider if Maranello continues to give him more opportunities.
“I am looking forward to driving again in Abu Dhabi in my second official training session,” said the Prancing Horse driver after getting out of the car. “I think that with my knowledge of the track there and the experience gained, I can do even better. Thanks to Scuderia Ferrari for their trust and for this opportunity.”
Alex Palou, a McLaren bet that will continue to shine in IndyCar
Another in a similar situation is the second of the rookies, Alex Palou , who has a current contract with Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar, but does not hide his motivation to get a wheel in the Big Circus. The Barcelona native was 17th, leaving good feelings with his McLaren, or rather, with Daniel Ricciardo’s, whom he replaced in Austin.
“It’s been a tough year, a lot. Things didn’t go the way we wanted, but I think it ended very well for what could have been,” explained the Spaniard about the legal dispute between the Woking team and its IndyCar team during the summer. . “So I take everything positive from that.”
“I have an incredible team around me for next year in IndyCar, I had the opportunity to do tests in Formula 1, free practice and learn from them,” he continued. “So I think I’ve made the best of everything I could get, I’m happy.”
“I’m still smiling the same in IndyCar, I’d say maybe not the same, but I’m still smiling a lot,” he replied when asked if his ultimate dream was Formula 1. “Probably a little more today, twice as much, although obviously I think that as a racing driver who likes motorsport, Formula 1 is where you want to go.
“Throughout my career, I realized that Formula 1 was not a place that I could really reach. I went through IndyCar and we did it, and interestingly, getting that championship, it gave me the opportunity to be here today. Palou assured. “I’m not chasing it [getting to the Big Circus], but if someone gives me a chance, I’ll take it, that’s the dream.”
Théo Pourchaire, the young Frenchman who wants to break into Alfa Romeo
Who did not do badly either was Théo Pourchaire , who at the age of 19 tried what Formula 1 was like in an official session for the first time. The Frenchman from Alfa Romeo has climbed very quickly in the lower championships, and the option of being a starter one day looms on the horizon.
“I will be in Mexico with the team as a reserve driver to work and improve a bit, to learn many, many things as I have said, because there are many more things than in Formula 2,” he said when asked about his future plans.
“In Abu Dhabi it will be the last round of F2, so I will focus on that, to finish my season well, and then there is the rookie test. It is not confirmed that I will drive with the team, but it is possible that I will. “, commented the Gaul.
Logan Sargeant, only a super license separates him from Formula 1 with Williams
For his part, the American Logan Sargeant was the worst of the rookies, occupying 19th place, although if he gets the super license he has many options to take Nicholas Latifi’s seat at Williams: “Honestly, I’m not sure, I need to do well in Abu Dhabi to secure my super license.”
“And that’s the main goal at the moment. It’s about getting out there, having a good race, and consolidating myself among the top three in the championship,” said the one with the most chances of reaching the Great Circus in 2023.
Antonio Giovinazzi, the experienced man who almost said goodbye to Formula 1
However, Antonio Giovinazzi , who was with Alfa Romeo for three seasons and made sporadic appearances for Sauber in 2017, suffered an accident with Haas that could shatter his chances of a comeback.
The Italian, who was the last classified in free practice in Austin, acknowledged that he does not know what will happen to him next year: “I still don’t know. We’ll see what happens, there are only four races left.”
“Like I say, it’s the racing, I wasn’t pushing, it was the second spurt in the session,” he said of his hit with the guards. “Unfortunately I lost the rear, and we still have to check what happened. For sure it’s my mistake, I’m very sorry for the team.”
“It’s Formula 1, sometimes you deserve to stay and you don’t take the seat, sometimes, that’s how, as I mentioned, it’s racing,” he continued. “For sure it doesn’t help [the accident], but on the other hand, I already showed what I could do in Formula 1.”
“I know it’s not after this lap and a few corners that my run will end. Let’s see what happens, but yeah, now I look ahead and see what happens, it sure won’t help, but like I said, I’ve already done three years in Formula 1, so if people love me, it’s not because of today, it’s because of the past, what I did and what I will do,” explained the Haas man.
Regarding his more immediate plans, he revealed: “I think the Abu Dhabi test, although I don’t know if it’s a rookie test or a normal one. I’m sure if it’s a normal one, it’s more for the official team driver, and if it’s a rookie, I’m not anymore, I don’t think so to be honest, but never say never.
“In Formula 1, we already saw what happened with Nyck [de Vries] in Monza. We are going to see what happened, but at the moment I don’t know what I will do in 2023,” said the Italian. “The priority is to get back here. If not, I would like – and it’s no longer a secret – to go to hypercars.”
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