Juri Vips, Red Bull, Sakhir, Bahrain, 2022

Vips to drive Perez’s car in first practice at Barcelona

2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Red Bull junior team member Juri Vips will drive for the team in the opening practice session on Friday in Barcelona, while Robert Kubica will also return for Alfa Romeo.

Formula 2 driver Vips, currently in eighth place in the championship with Hitech, will have his first run in an official Formula 1 practice session on Friday, taking over Sergio Perez’s RB18 for the one hour session. He will take on double duties, competing in the Formula 2 sessions this weekend alongside his first practice opportunity.

Alfa Romeo reserve driver Kubica will step into Zhou Guanyu’s for first practice. It will be his first participation in a grand prix weekend since last year’s Italian Grand Prix, where he raced in place of Kimi Raikkonen, who missed two rounds after testing positive for Covid.

Williams previously announced Formula E champion Nyck De Vries will run in first practice on Friday morning in place of Alexander Albon.

All 10 F1 teams must run ‘young drivers’ at least twice in practice sessions throughout the 2022 season. However, as Kubica has competed in more than two grands prix in his career, he does not satisfy this requirement. Therefore, Alfa Romeo will still be required to run young drivers in practice sessions twice throughout the remainder of the season.

Kubica has a wealth of experience in the Alfa Romeo C42 already in 2022, having participated in the opening pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in February, though he was limited to just nine laps due to car problems. Most recently, the former grand prix winner took part in a Pirelli tyre test at the Imola circuit following the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

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2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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13 comments on “Vips to drive Perez’s car in first practice at Barcelona”

  1. Who was the last estonian to drive F1?

    1. Marko Asmer in a test for BMW https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marko_Asmer. No one have driven in GP weekends.

  2. Nice to see other drivers getting opportunity in Free Practice. This used to be more common back when there was a spare 3rd car. Just a shame for Checo to lose track time.

    1. @lejimster82 Losing track time in Montmelo is more unimpactful than anywhere else, given how familiar all drivers (& teams) are with this track. Therefore, Checo will/should be perfectly okay preparation-wise.

      1. @jerejj Was going to say the same, and is most likely why they have chosen Spain for Vips. Vips gets a car that will likely be quite well set up, and Checo will likely barely skip a beat.

  3. Good choice. Vips is the only RB junior at the moment with a super licence so this makes sense.

    Aside from his unforced error at Imola, he’s had a pretty good season (tarnished with some outrageously bad luck). Marko has spoken highly of his attitude and work ethic since his F3 days when he hit a Prema brick wall.

    Lawson is probably slightly more talented, so it’ll be interesting to see which of them gets an AlphaTauri nod next year (if at all). Iwasa is still too green, Hauger seems more like Mick Schumacher (slow first-year type) and Daruvala is too old.

    1. @wsrgo Daruvala & Lawson are SL-eligible & thus supposedly also hold one each unless they’re yet to apply, which is possible. For now, I don’t rule out any of this trio for AT next season.
      Vips is, after all, lower in the standings, albeit gaps are small, so anything can happen with ten events left.

  4. That’s a relief. I read the headline as VIPs to drive Perez’s car & had visions of DJ Khaled embedding the RB18 in the pitwall.

    1. @ade LOL.

      1. Lol for sureā€¦like he could fit in an F1 car.

  5. The first time since possibly the T-car days that a non-regular drives for RBR in a practice session.

  6. I would have thought this test was a key chance to test correlation data from preseason till now, quite surprising to see teams running other drivers although I appreciate it’s a track they know well. Red Bull have the fastest car so I doubt they’re going to be too worried about their preseason data as they’ve clearly moved forwards since then so perhaps they’re not bothered.

    1. Actually it makes pretty good sense. Vips is the simulator driver for RB and driving in a well known circuit to correlate data makes perfect sense. Also sitting out for normal drivers is no big loss as the track is memorized for everyone anyway.

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