Isack Hadjar has admitted he is “a bit apprehensive” about making his Formula 1 practice debut at this weekend’s Mexico City Grand Prix.
The 19-year-old Formula 2 rookie will be driving for AlphaTauri in the first practice session on Friday, and it will mark the first time the Red Bull junior has ever driven an F1 car.
He was selected for the practice outing over five other Red Bull juniors in F2, who are all above him in the standings. None have been given private F1 test mileage either, and it is Hadjar who has recently been given F1 work outside of the cockpit.
He shadowed Red Bull Racing during the Singapore Grand Prix, although he was not there in a reserve driver capacity, and then did the same with AlphaTauri at the Japanese Grand Prix.
“I’m super excited to be driving in FP1, but at the same time, I’m a bit apprehensive, as I’ve never driven a F1 car. To do so for the first time at an official practice session for a grand prix is quite something,” said Hadjar.
“The team has not set me any targets, so I don’t feel under any particular pressure, and I think I’m as well prepared as I can be. After Daniel [Ricciardo] was injured and Liam [Lawson] stepped in, I did a lot more work in the simulator to help the race drivers prepare, so I have a good understanding of how all the controls in the cockpit work.
“I’ve spent time in Faenza getting to know the team, and the engineer who will work with me in FP1 was also with me at the sim, so we know one another already.
“The altitude in Mexico means this is an unusual track to drive with less downforce than usual, but I can’t wait to get in the car and do my best for the team. Since I started karting as a young child, I have dreamed of being in F1, and I want to thank Scuderia AlphaTauri and Red Bull for giving me this great opportunity.”