Home Featured Williams hands F1 free practice debut to Franco Colapinto at British GP

Williams hands F1 free practice debut to Franco Colapinto at British GP

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Franco Colapinto will make his Formula 1 free practice debut with Williams at this week’s British Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old Argentinian will have a busy Friday at Silverstone, driving in Formula 2 practice in the morning then in the first of F1’s one-hour practice sessions at 12:30. He will have just over an hour-and-a-half to rest before then contesting F2 qualifying.

Colapinto was signed by Williams to its young driver development programme in January 2023, and at the end of last year he got his first F1 mileage by driving for the team in post-season testing at Yas Marina Circuit.

“I’m still keep pinching myself to make sure it’s really happening. One moment I am driving my F2 car, and the next minute I am told I get to take part in an F1 weekend,” said Colapinto of this weekend’s FP1 call-up.

“It’s a dream come true and being able to do it in Silverstone makes it even more special. It’s not only the home race of Williams, but also one of the greatest track to drive any car, let alone one the fastest race cars in the world. I am extremely happy and grateful to Williams for this opportunity, allowing me to take the wheel in only my second year in the Academy and my first season in F2.”

Colapinto came fourth in the FIA Formula 3 Championship last year, and he is currently fifth in the 2024 F2 standings with one win. He is one of three Williams juniors in the second tier of single-seater racing, with Zak O’Sullivan racing against him in F2 while Jamie Chadwick competes in Indy Nxt.

“Franco has had a very encouraging start to his debut season in F2 and we are delighted to reward his performances over the past two years with his first FP1 session,” Williams’ sporting director Sven Smeets said.

“We are proud of our talented group of drivers in the Williams Racing Driver Academy and it is important for us to give them the opportunity to progress and have these important chances as they move up the ladder. To showcase our talent at our home race at Silverstone is a nice moment and, of course, this is going to be a great day for the Argentine F1 fans.’