In a surprising move, Red Bull Racing has announced that Formula E champion Jake Dennis will get his chance in Formula 1 at the upcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The decision comes in adherence to Formula 1’s rookie testing rule, which requires teams to provide opportunities for young talents in at least two practice sessions throughout the season. Red Bull, having not fulfilled this requirement so far, are now seizing the chance to integrate Dennis into the high-octane world of Formula 1 that they have dominated over the past year.
With Liam Lawson, Red Bull’s reserve driver, no longer qualifying as a rookie due to his exceptional performances earlier in the season, the team had to look within its driver academy for fresh talent. Dennis, now 28 years old, clinched the Formula E title in a stellar 2022-23 season, and Red Bull is extending an invitation for Dennis to replace either champion driver Max Verstappen or teammate Sergio Perez during FP1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and will mark Dennis’s debut in Formula 1. In addition to the Formula E champ, Red Bull is also turning to F2 driver Isack Hadjar to fulfil their rookie testing obligations. Hadjar, currently in the 14th position in the F2 championship standings, will participate in one of the practice sessions at the Yas Marina Bay circuit to ensure that Red Bull fully complies with the rookie testing rule while also providing valuable track time for prodigies.
Red Bull has opted to deploy both mandatory rookie sessions at the same event – the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is shaping up to be an incredible climax to what has already been a successful season for the team. Despite having already sewn up the Constructors Championship, Red Bull will still want to claim a victory at the season finale, and you can check out all the latest news and updated odds for the final races of the season at Cheeky Punter. The final race of the season promises to be an incredible spectacle, and Cheeky Punters will be covering all the action from every lap of the circuit, you can also receive a wealth of information for all types of sports as well as view Cheeky’s top rated online bookies for betting on Formula 1.
Dennis’s journey to Formula 1 has been unconventional; from serving as a simulator driver for Red Bull since 2018, he has been honing his skills behind the scenes. While the Brit won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award in 2012 and showed promise in series like FIA F3 and GP3, his single-seater career took an unexpected turn when he joined the Andretti Formula E team for the 2020-21 campaign and his success in Formula E culminated in the 2022-2023 title, which now qualifies him for an F1 super license next season. Meanwhile, the French-Algerian, Isack Hadja, has been making his mark in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Hitech and currently occupies 14th place in the F2 standings while also serving as a reserve driver for Red Bull/AlphaTauri when Lawson is not available.
Red Bull’s decision to bring in both Dennis and Hadjar aligns with the broader trend in Formula 1, where teams are strategically placing rookies in practice sessions. Many other teams, including AlphaTauri, McLaren, and Haas, have left it late in the season to meet their rookie session requirements and will be following a similar process as the champions. Several other drivers are also scheduled for FP1 appearances this season, including Alpine’s Jack Doohan, Mercedes’ Frederik Vesti, Haas’ Oliver Bearman, McLaren’s Pato O’Ward, Ferrari’s Robert Shwartzman, Aston Martin’s Felipe Drugovich, and Alfa Romeo’s Theo Pourchaire.