What is a ‘rookie’ in F1 anyway?

Much of Formula One’s lack of running on Friday is down to the tires. In fact, much of their lack of running on Saturday is equally impacted by the tires. the reason for this is the allocation of a limited number of tires each team has for a race weekend. Due to the high degradation of the tires, preserving as many sets as you can plays a key role in having fresh rubber for Sunday’s race. This has left F1 fans watching beautiful television shots of an empty circuit and little action on track.

We argued for additional tires for Friday and Saturday so the teams will make the most of the time they have been given and to also provide a good show for the fans trackside and at home. While this seems like a logically sound solution, it too would have an impact on the weekend as the tactical element of the high degradation tire would be somewhat diminished.

Force India offered a solution they felt might be a compromise. The team proffered the concept of being given extra set for Friday as long as the teams would only utilize their rookie drivers on the extra set. They also wanted a more durable compound so they could pound out some meaningful laps with the rookie.

The solution was shot down due to a lack of unanimity amongst the teams as it was difficult to define what a “rookie” actually is. Like all things Formula 1, it’s important to know what words mean. Some teams have veteran drivers that have never raced in Formula 1. They would technically qualify as a rookie in the races but certainly not a rookie to F1.

According to AUTOSPORT, Pirelli’s motor sport boss Paul Hembery was in favor of the idea:

“It’s something we wanted to do to encourage all the teams to run as much as possible right from the start, especially with the rookie drivers, to give fans the spectacle they deserve to see.”

If the intent of the high degradation tire was to improve the show, they may argue they’ve achieved that on Sunday but Friday and Saturday have been negatively impacted by the concept. This weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, however, will see an additional set of tires for Friday as Pirelli will be testing a prototype tire.

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