Williams will run Formula E champion and Mercedes young driver Nyck de Vries in FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix, fulfilling the first of two mandatory rookie driver outings this season.

All teams must run rookies on two occasions this season as part of a new regulation, and Williams has announced de Vries will be the first driver to do so as he takes over from Alex Albon on Friday.

The 27-year-old won the Formula 2 title in 2019 and Formula E last year but has not raced in Formula 1, and Barcelona will offer his first chance to participate in a grand prix weekend.

“Firstly, I’d really like to thank Williams for the opportunity to run in FP1,” de Vries said. “It’s great for me to get to know the team and drive the FW44, and also to get myself out on track during a Formula 1 weekend. Preparation for the test is going well so far and the team have been incredibly supportive of me. I’m very much looking forward to the whole experience in Spain now!”

Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson says de Vries will provide a new outlook on how the FW44 performs, having also done simulator work with Mercedes this year.

“We are looking forward to having Nyck de Vries in the car for FP1 as it is always good to work with a new driver and get a fresh opinion on the car’s strengths and weaknesses,” Robson said. “Nyck’s experience and professionalism will be crucial on Friday as he will complete some of the key engineering tests in FP1 before he hands the car back to Alex for FP2.”

De Vries has been linked with Nicholas Latifi’s seat at Williams in future and sporting director Sven Smeets admits he’s looking forward to seeing how the Dutchman performs in F1 machinery.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Nyck join the team for FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix,” Smeets added. “As he is a very talented and experienced driver I have no doubt that he’ll maximize his time in the FW44 and deliver a strong, capable performance for the team.”