With one final opportunity to complete their mandatory rookie session at the season-closer in Abu Dhabi, almost half of the Formula 1 grid will feature well-known faces from Formula 2 on the timing screens in Free Practice 1.

Eight drivers will be in action, including five current members of the 2023 grid, our 2022 Champion and one Formula 3 star who’ll be graduating to the Championship next year.

Here’s who to watch out for around the Yas Marina Circuit on Friday.

Théo Pourchaire – Alfa Romeo

It’s going to be a huge weekend for our Championship leader Théo Pourchaire as he prepares to conclude his journey in F2 with title glory for ART Grand Prix. But before the Alfa Romeo reserve driver can do that, he’ll be taking over the reins of Zhou Guanyu’s C43 in FP1.

Unfortunate to miss out on running in Mexico’s opening session after a mechanical problem ended his session early, Friday marks the Frenchman’s third FP1 session after participating in last year’s running in Austin.

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Frederik Vesti – Mercedes

Describing his F1 debut in Mexico last month as “a dream come true,” PREMA Racing's Frederik Vesti will have another chance to soak up the experience as he completes his second FP1 session with Mercedes.

A low-speed testing programme allowed him to get 26 laps on the board and he’ll be looking to get even more mileage under his belt behind the wheel of Lewis Hamilton’s W14. From there, the Dane's attentions will need to turn back to Formula 2 as he aims to close up a 25-point deficit to Pourchaire and be crowned the 2023 F2 Champion.

READ MORE: Théo Pourchaire & Frederik Vesti: From teammates to title rivals

Jack Doohan – Alpine

Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan will be completing the second of the French team’s rookie sessions in Abu Dhabi, his fourth FP1 session overall. Running in Mexico in both 2022 and 2023 alongside driving at the Yas Marina Circuit last year, he’ll now be taking over driving duties in the A523 from Esteban Ocon.

Sitting fourth in the Drivers’ Standings on 138 points, the Invicta Virtuosi Racing driver knows that a top three finish could still be on the cards if he seizes his third victory of the campaign.

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Oliver Bearman – Haas

The youngest driver in action at Yas Marina, Oliver Bearman will be getting another taste of F1 machinery with Haas. The Ferrari junior put in an impressive performance in Mexico, taking the honours as the highest-placed F2 driver in the session, finishing 15th with 31 laps on the board.

Now, the Briton will be climbing into the cockpit of Nico Hulkenberg’s VF-23, before getting back to business in F2, where he’s battling it out with ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins to achieve the top rookie status.

READ MORE: Victor Martins vs Oliver Bearman: fighting for the second year running and top F2 rookie honours

Isack Hadjar – Red Bull

One of two rookies participating in the session for Red Bull, Isack Hadjar will be in action, driving the Championship winning RB19 for the hour-long running. Like Bearman and Vesti, the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver’s F1 debut also came in Mexico, where he earned the 17th-fastest time for AlphaTauri, the second fastest of his fellow F2 drivers.

Felipe Drugovich – Aston Martin

The reigning F2 Champion Felipe Drugovich will be featuring in the Abu Dhabi FP1 session for the second consecutive year, hopping into Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin this time around. The Brazilian already has some more experience to learn from this year, driving in FP1 at the Italian Grand Prix and collecting valuable data across the 24 laps for the British team.

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Robert Shwartzman – Ferrari

2021 runner-up Robert Shwartzman is the second F2 alumni we’ll see on track as part of the rookie session. The Ferrari reserve driver previously drove in FP1 at the Dutch Grand Prix earlier this year, completing an extensive aero balance run programme.

Last year, he finished just half a second adrift of Charles Leclerc in the United Arab Emirates in FP1, but this season he’ll be taking over the driving duties from the 2017 F2 Champion.

Zak O’Sullivan – Williams

Unusually, Zak O’Sullivan will be making his F1 debut before getting his first taste of F2 machinery at post-season testing, as he prepares to make the step up to the second tier with ART Grand Prix next season.

Running alongside F2 graduate Logan Sargeant at Williams, the Briton has been handed the opportunity to drive the FW45 off the back of his runner-up finish in Formula 3, achieving four wins and matching the Championship’s all-time record.