Williams reserve driver Valtteri Bottas believes that young drivers do not get enough opportunities to drive Formula 1 cars before graduating to the top level of the sport.
Bottas, who has taken part in 12 first free practice sessions in place of Bruno Senna so far this season, said that even with Friday driving, F1 hopefuls needed more opportunities to sell themselves to teams and to gain vital experience. The Finn reckons F1 needs to change more to accommodate young drivers coming through.
"I think so," he said. "That's my opinion, because it is obviously really, really difficult nowadays for young drivers to come up. We don't need to go so much further back, only a few years ago, there was a lot of testing and younger drivers could get much more mileage. Then the teams could really see which drivers were good.
"It's a shame nowadays that it is like this, and now it is the same for everyone who is at my age. Maybe one example would be to introduce more young driver tests."
In spite of the lack of running, Bottas, who has been linked with Senna's race seat for 2013, says he is ready to step up if he is given the opportunity. Asked if he'd had enough testing to make the step, Bottas said: "Well it's the most you can get really so it has to be enough and in the end you just have to have your first race at some point and then you see where you are. But if you asked me would I be ready to race? Definitely. I feel I want to have my first race soon.
"I also feel this second half of the season... because this season I have not been driving as much because I am not racing anywhere else... the second half has been a bit more difficult because I am just spending such a little time in the car in the end. So definitely I feel it is time to get more laps in."
Bottas added that he would consider racing in another category next season if he failed to secure a race seat in F1.
"Yeah, I would think I would have to," said the former GP3 Series champion. "Because two seasons driving as little as now I think would be too much.
"GP2 is a good option, but the only thing with GP2 is that then you are not allowed to drive on the Fridays with F1... so, but I hope we don't need to look at that. Definitely the priority is to the race seat for Formula 1."