Jüri Vips will become the first Estonian to drive an F1 car in an official session after Red Bull announced that he would take over Sergio Perez's machine in FP1.
As part of the FIA's new scheme that makes it mandatory for every team to run a young driver in at least two Practice sessions this season, Red Bull has decided to use Vips in place of Perez, who will miss out on FP1 for the first time since the 2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix which he was ruled out of because of a positive Covid test.
Vips' Formula 1 debut comes off the back of a disappointing Formula 2 weekend in Imola, where he managed to put his Hitech machine on pole position for the Feature race, only for him not to score in either the Feature or the Sprint races consigning him into eighth in the drivers' standings as the series heads to Barcelona for round four of its 14 race championship.
Before the Imola weekend, Vips had finished on the podium twice, with third in a chaotic Bahrain Feature race and second in an equally manic Sprint race in Jeddah after dispatching Jake Hughes in the final few laps.
Red Bull isn't the only team to change its lineup for FP1, as Williams announced on Tuesday that 2019 Formula 2 champion and 2020-21 Formula E World champion Nyck De Vries would drive Alex Albon's car as part of their mandatory young driver requirement meaning that for the first time since the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix two Dutch drivers will participate in an official session.
Alfa Romeo will give Robert Kubica his first Free Practice session since last year's Italian Grand Prix, where he substituted for Kimi Raikkonen, who could not race in either the Dutch or Italian Grand Prix after being diagnosed with Covid-19 on the eve of the third Free Practice session. Kubica will replace Chinese rookie Zhou Guanyu in FP1.