Former F1 team boss Giancarlo Minardi has called for a change to the practice rules to make teams use at least one of the sessions to run a young driver.
With the current ban on in-season testing, the opportunity for new blood to sample F1 machinery is limited, although a number of teams – such as Force India – did use Friday practice last year to run a different driver in one of its cars.
Minardi argued that a change to the rules would give young drivers the chance to gain experience of F1 machinery but would also benefit teams when the time comes for those drivers to graduate onto the grid.
"We should go back to the Friday practice where it is required that each team should run at least one of the two sessions with a rookie,” he said. “Do not forget that these sessions gave Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica their chance. It is clear that the rookie will need sponsorship, but the figures will be affordable, compared to the 10-15 million now required in order to secure a race seat.
“Today we are in a cycle where some drivers will soon be looking at retirement and who will take their place? Without test days, you won't find a replacement for the likes of Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli.
“Drivers coming into F1 don't have the necessary experience and you only have to look at Williams. In 2010, 90 per cent of their points were scored by Rubens Barrichello and now Nico Hulkenberg is now forced to either watch or become a third driver. Returning to running rookie drivers in Friday tests would better prepare them for F1.”