The latest F1 sporting regulations have made an effort to ensure that there are no 'quiet periods' at the start of opening practice, by allowing teams to make use of additional drivers and tyres on Friday morning.
Dusty track surfaces and familiarity with some venues have often resulted in teams laying dormant for large parts of FP1, figuring they have little to gain by venturing out.
While the return of in-season testing may have quietened calls for the Friday sessions to be turned over to young drivers instead of featuring the established stars, the latest regulations issued by the FIA make provision for as many as four drivers per team to take part in FP1, while also allowing the use of an additional set of the prime tyre in the opening 30 minutes of the session in a bid to increase the action.
Any additional drivers – who will only be allowed to take part provided they have the mandatory superlicence - will also be subject to the new rule on permanent numbers, where previously reserves such as James Calado and Rodolfo Gonzalez would simply have assumed the number of the driver they were replacing. They will, however, be using the engine, tyres and gearbox allocation of the replaced driver.