Home Featured Ferrari juniors Schumacher, Ilott, Shwartzman to get F1 practice debuts

Ferrari juniors Schumacher, Ilott, Shwartzman to get F1 practice debuts

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

Ferrari’s leading juniors in the Formula 2 standings will make their Formula 1 free practice debuts before the end of the season, with Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott to both appear at the Nurburgring next week.

F2 championship leader Schumacher will drive for Alfa Romeo on home ground at the Eifel Grand Prix in place of Antonio Giovinazzi, while Ilott – currently second in the points – will drive for Haas in place of one of its race drivers.

Robert Shwartzman, who is fifth in the F2 standings with two rounds to go, will get his practice outing with one of the two teams at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

All three drivers will get to try a 2018-specification Ferrari SF71H at the Fiorano test track tomorrow (Wednesday).

“We wanted to organise this test session so that our three best youngsters would be as well prepared as possible to tackle an event that will always be a special moment for them,” said Laurent Mekies, the Ferrari sporting director and academy director.

“It will be a chance to get to grips with a Formula 1 car, which is much more complicated than the car they are currently used to driving.

“I would like to thank Haas and Alfa Romeo Racing for offering Callum, Mick and Robert this opportunity. We believe strongly in our Academy, which has already proved its value, with Charles Leclerc, a driver on which the Scuderia can build its long term future.

“Callum, Mick and Robert have already proved their worth in the current Formula 2 season and this test is a further step in their education.”

Schumacher and Ilott have both driven contemporary F1 machinery before: Schumacher drove for both Ferrari and Alfa Romeo in the test that followed last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, while Ilott did a day with Alfa following the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said. “The fact that my first participation in a Formula 1 weekend will take place in front of my home audience at the Nürburgring makes this moment even more special.

“For the next ten days I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

Ilott said: “It’s a real privilege to get my first run in a free practice session, especially to do it with Haas F1 Team. It’s amazing to have this chance at a track that is one of my favourites – it was where I scored the first podium of my career back in 2015.

“Thanks to Haas F1 Team and to the Ferrari Driver Academy for giving me such a great opportunity. It should be really fun and exciting. I plan to make the most of it, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”