Ferrari has confirmed that two of their Ferrari Driver Academy drivers will be participating at the Young Driver Test at Abu Dhabi following the conclusion of the F1 season. It will be Robert Shwartzman racing in Ferrari’s SF1000. Meanwhile, Callum Ilott is going to handle Alfa Romeo’s C39.
For Ilott this represents a lucky second chance to experience a 2020 F1 car following disappointment in October. The Brit was due to drive for Haas in FP1 at the Eifel Grand Prix. Unfortunately, the weather conditions prevented running for any of the drivers.
Alfa Romeo will retain Kimi Raikkonen Antonio Giovinazzi for 2021. Despite not having a chance for a Formula One seat, the experience that Ilott will gain from piloting an F1 car again will put him in a good position should any doors open for 2022. Illot previous drove for Alfa in 2019 at a test in Barcelona.
Russia’s PREMA driver, Shwartzman, will be wearing red overalls alongside Antonio Fuoco. Fuoco, the former F2 driver, has spent his year driving simulator for Ferrari. His insight into any discrepancies between the sim and the real thing is surely going to be helpful for the Scuderia. The opportunity will be Shwartzman’s second run of an F1 car in just four months. Robert piloted Ferraris 2018 challenger at Fiorino in September.
Shwartzman and Ilott; Ferrari’s view to 2022?
Ilott is currently second in the championship. Shwartzman is impressing his debut F2 season in fifth. But neither driver is expected to clinch an F1 seat next year. It is highly tipped throughout the paddock that Schumacher and Mazepin will claim the two Haas seats that remain open. This follows Grosjean and Magnussen losing their drives with the sole American F1 team. If Haas decide to field two rookies it would be bold. But Haas team principal, Guenther Steiner, is open to the idea.
Red Bull are yet to confirm the second drive at either AlphaTauri or Red Bull Racing. However, there is no chance that any of the Ferrari Driver Academy drivers will supersede Yuki Tsunoda for a seat if Red Bull opt to promote from Formula 2. It seems for Ilott and Shwartzman that the Young Driver Test at Abu Dhabi may be their last spin in a Ferrari powered F1 car for a while.