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Ferrari to hand juniors Alesi and Armstrong private F1 test debuts

by Elliot Wood

Ferrari juniors Giuliano Alesi and Marcus Armstrong will make their Formula 1 test debuts at Fiorano next week in the manufacturer’s 2018 car.

On Monday (January 25), Alesi will be the first in the Ferrari SF71H – the car that was used by Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman at the same track last September – and will then hand over the car to 2020 Formula 2 rival Armstrong.

While Alesi’s 2021 plans are uncertain, both Armstrong and Shwartzman have already sealed their returns to F2 this year with DAMS and Prema respectively. Shwartzman will also get to test the SF71H later in the day on Monday.

Ferrari’s own F1 line-up of Charles Leclerc and the incoming Carlos Sainz Jr will be at the wheel on Tuesday and Wednesday to stay physically sharp, as like the F2 drivers they will be having to wait until March for official pre-season testing in Bahrain.

Sainz’s time in the car will continue into Thursday morning, and he will hand it over to reigning F2 champion and soon-to-be Haas F1 driver Schumacher for the afternoon.

Schumacher gets two sessions in the car to prepare for his F1 debut, with his Thursday afternoon shift being followed by Friday morning, and then his 2020 F2 title rival Ilott – now Ferrari’s test driver – rounds out the running by getting in the car on Friday afternoon.

Ilott is also yet to announce if he has any racing plans ahead, but it is most likely he will focus on his test role and will not return to F2 for a third season.