Ferrari juniors Schumacher, Shwartzman and Ilott to make F1 practice debuts this year

2020 F1 season

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Three Ferrari Driver Academy members will make their debuts in Formula 1 practice sessions this year.

The FDA has confirmed Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman will all drive for Ferrari customer teams in one practice session over the coming races. The trio are currently first, second and fifth respectively in the Formula 2 standings.

Schumacher will drive Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo in next Friday’s practice session for the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

Ilott will also make his F1 debut at the same time. He will take over Romain Grosjean’s Haas for the same session.

Shwartzman will have to wait until the season finale at Abu Dhabi for his first outing. All three drivers will test a Ferrari SF71H, as raced by the team in 2018, at Fiorano tomorrow.

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“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 FDA director and Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies.

“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.

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“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, who tested for Alfa Romeo and Ferrari last year, will have his first outing in an F1 race weekend at a circuit his seven-times championship-winning father Michael Schumacher won at five times during his career.

“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,” he said. “I would like to thank Alfa Romeo and the Ferrari Driver Academy for giving me the opportunity to get another taste of Formula 1 air one and a half years after our common test drive in Bahrain.

“For the next 10 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, who is 22 points behind Schumacher in the F2 standings with four races remaining, said it was a “real privilege” to have his first run in an official F1 practice session.

“It’s amazing to have this chance at a track that is one of my favourites,” he said. “It was where I scored the first podium of my career back in 2015. The Nürburgring means a lot to me and is a track with a real heritage, so it’s great that I’ll have my first outing at a Formula 1 race weekend there.”

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36 comments on “Ferrari juniors Schumacher, Shwartzman and Ilott to make F1 practice debuts this year”

  1. There just doesn’t seem to be enough seats to go around. Schumacher and Ilott certainly should move up to F1, Tsunoda and Shwartzman are deserving too. But Perez, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Magnussen and Raikkonen should be sticking around at least too.

    F1 absolutely needs at least another two, maybe three new teams. There’s going to be quite a few very good drivers without a seat next year and that’s a huge shame.

    1. @rocketpanda Kvyat the least out of those along with the last of the ones you mentioned. No point in keeping Kvyat if Tsunoda becomes eligible for a super license unless Gasly decides to leave on his own.

    2. I don’t see how more teams makes any difference @rocketpanda. How can there magically be 26 instead of 20 ‘very good’ drivers? We have 20 atm and how many are interesting and awesome? Personally not any of the ones you mention, they could be swapped out for the newbies quite easily. They’ve had their interesting moments and now they’re no more interesting than some new young guys from F2.

      On top of which, does F1 exist to provide rides for drivers? I don’t think that’s how to see F1.

      1. Even back of the grid Williams and HAAS drivers would be equal to Bottas in Mercedes after a couple of drives let’s face it. If they stuck with the major down force changes into 2021 instead of 2022 that would have been a great assist to somewhat levelling the playing field.

        I love Kimi but really he should go now instead of whining down the back. He is just not needed as is Vettel. There is almost no chance that he will out perform Perez in an AM Racing Point. He should retire.
        Admittedly Seb is far more entertaining when he is losing and crashing but we should get on with actual development not mediocre drivers who consistedly disobey RB and Ferrari team orders and expect preferential treatment.

      2. Jose Lopes da Silva
        30th September 2020, 9:22

        It’s not, but it should. Of course it should.

    3. I disagree, it’s easier to list drivers who deserve a seat in F1 than those who don’t.
      That is making the over simplified assumption that the top 20 drivers should be in F1. And ignoring factors such as financial banking, marketing value and technical experience (good feedback)
      IMO the list of deserving drivers are as follows (in no particular order):

      1. That leave 11 spaces for better drivers

        1. I would go for good drivers as better is in the eye of the beholder.

  2. Do I wish we either have more teams on the grid, or 3 cars per team….

    1. They should have had 3 cars per team by now, honestly. Make it mandatory to have one car go to a rookie (less than 2 years maximum of F1 experience), with a potential third season if said rookie has spend two years in that car, if by 3 seasons you haven’t made it to the main two, you’re not fit for F1. Then make it so only the lead 2 cars can score points for the constructors standings at any race, and change the point system so every car on the grid scores points, given that the extra ten cars will make it harder for slower teams to score top ten finishes.

      1. No space in pit lane for 3 cars?

      2. Well, no podiums if you don’t drive a mercedes, they seriously need to address dominance then.

  3. Kimi and Schumacher at Alfa is all but confirmed.

    I could see Perez and another Ferrari junior ending up at Haas.

    And a place awaits for Tsunoda at AlphaTauri if he manages to win enough points on his superlicense.

  4. All three drivers will test a Ferrari SF71H, as raced by the team in 2018, at Fiorano tomorrow.

    Very interesting. Out of the 3, I prefer Shwartzman as a driver. He was very exciting in F3 last year and he did very well for the first half of this year’s F2 season. I think he’s got a great future if he is nurtured properly. The other two drivers ain’t bad either! I just find Shwartzman more exciting.

    1. @shimks To be honest I think Shwartzman is the least dynamic of the three…he’s very quick still and is often a stable head, but oftentimes he seems to get lost in traffic, or struggles with tyre wear or some such. It was weird when Shwartzman started talking about ‘not losing points for the championship’ as early as round 2 this year. I know he’s a rookie in F2, so maybe we should keep that in mind, but that way I would say he’s been shaded by Tsunoda and Lundgaard, both of whom spent just a single season in F3 and were fast-tracked to F2 this yearwhile Shwartzman had the privilege of 2 F3 seasons in a Prema.

      Compare him to Ilott, who’s blindingly quick over a lap, or Schumacher who has perfected his starts and general racecraft (Silverstone aside) and I think you’ll find Shwartzman isn’t quite the finished product yet. I think he would definitely benefit from another season in F2 to iron out his flaws.

      1. Well…on that basis Verstappen should have spent another 4 years in F3.

        1. José Lopes da Silva
          30th September 2020, 16:02

          Verstappen should have spent another 4 years in F3? Why?

      2. Interesting comments, @wsrgo. Thank you. I agree with you that Shwartzman needs another year. He didn’t shred the competition this season. I think it’s too early for Schumacher too, somehow, but he is being nurtured so well that I think he won’t be swallowed up in F1. But I don’t think he’s that ready.

  5. One of the only silver linings for Ferrari has been this! Its line-up of younger drivers. Glad that they are at least doing something on that.

    On the overall driver scenario, my hunch is: Alonso, Schumacher, Tsunoda all 3 will come in; at the expense of Kvyat, Grosjean and either of the 4 drivers – Perez, Latifi, Magnussen, Kimi. In an unlikely scenario, it is possible that even Shwartzman comes in, but may need 2 of these 4 drivers to be out of the grid.

    1. @sumedh Latifi’s place is safe. Kvyat, Grosjean, Magnussen, Giovinazzi, Perez and or Kimi, and the most vulnerable of these are the first four, I reckon.

    2. You have a “Hunch” Alonso will get a seat next year? Nostradamus at work Ladies and gentlemen 🤪

  6. Expecting something good from Mick next weekend. Can anyone else remember his second F3 season where he turned up at the Nurburgring and just dominated all three races?

  7. This looks like a straight audition between Ferrari’s embarrassment of F2 riches for a development seat in F1. With the Scuderia having so much talent to choose from, and without Giovinazzi having stood out in his year and a half so far, I suspect his F1 career will be over.

    Giovinazzi’s one hope could be if Kimi chooses to retire, and Alfa Romeo want some continuity. But I think that even if Kimi retires, my money would be on Ferrari taking both Alfa seats to pit their preferred pairing from Schumacher, Ilott and Schwartzman against each other, rather than measuring one of them against Giovinazzi.

    This, of course, is all based on Alfa Romeo being the FDA proving ground. I’m not sure whether to read anything into Haas (rather than Alfa) giving Ilott his P1 run at the Nurburgring. Could it signal a willingness from Haas to become an additional/alternative petri dish for Ferrari to grow their future F1 drivers in?

    1. @casanovaw well don’t forget the reasons these deals exist, tends to be that Alfa/Haas get a free driver (salary paid by Ferrari) and possibly a discount on engines. With enough money, Haas would surely do anything

    2. Alfa romeo will be Kimi and Mick (he pulled his stay card)
      Haas is hard be expect 1 rookie (scharzman) and 1 veteran (magnussen/Perez)
      Alpha Tauri Gasly/Albon and Tsunoda
      Red Bull Max Gasly/Albon
      Ferrari LeClerc and Sainz
      McLaren Riccardo Norris
      Willems Russel and …..
      Mercedes Bottas and Max eehh Lewis
      Racing Austin M Vettel and Lance
      Renault Alsonso and Ocon

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        30th September 2020, 11:39

        Is someone about to buy Latifi’s seat?

  8. I think Ferrari have missed a trick here, Schumacher should be debuting in Vettel’s Ferrari? Vettel’s contributions this season have been below par and of the four drivers he’s the one with prior knowledge of the circuit. From Ferrari’s perspective the PR coup of putting Schumacher in a Ferrari for practice would be huge

  9. To me the only interesting thing for next year is to see if Alonso/Renault is faster than Ricciardo/McLaren – Mercedes. I think it is going to be very close…

    1. @dutchtreat alonso will be nowhere close to the front, and nowhere near even ocon. just like how schumacher lost to rosberg. both returned at an old age of 40 and spent years out of f1 and schumacher losing to someone like rosberg just shows the 1 to 2 seconds he lost to old age compared to his ferarri days. expect alonso to also slow down that much.

      1. @f1fan2000 I don’t think Schumacher’s deficit was all down to his age. For years at Ferrari, he had Bridgestone and Ferrari basically designing tyres and cars exactly to the specification that Schumacher wanted, and when he came back, the tyre war had ended and everyone now had the same tyres and Schumacher just couldn’t adapt to first the Bridgestones, then the Pirellis. Alonso has declined since his prime (2012-2016), but I doubt he’s a shadow of his former self like Schmacher was.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          30th September 2020, 11:39

          A famous hypothesis about Raikkonen’s career says that he did not adapt properly to the tyre monopoly since 2007. In fact his best years seemed to have been 2002 to 2006 – even in 2007 he was sometimes just at par with Massa and benefited hugely of internal McLaren fight.
          Maybe Schumacher did not adapt to the new tyre era, too. Also past 2006. Makes some sense.

          Although I don’t think Schumacher’s Mercedes stint was awful. It bad if compared with 91-06 Schumacher, but it was great compared with every other 40-year old driver. He is 16 years older than Rosberg.

          1. Indeed, I think this number says it all: sixteen years older than rosberg, there are so many people who diminish schumacher cause he was outperformed by rosberg, without keeping this into account or having any idea how many tenths you lose due to that.

      2. You’re right. Alonso will be nowhere near Ocon. I’m pretty sure Alonso will be the end of Ocon’s F1 career.

  10. Perez has to replace Albon…!

    1. Indeed, red bull seriously needs to look outside their academy, cause they only have verstappen.

      If anything, kvyat is the one who performed better in the red bull, even though he isn’t as good in a toro rosso, but obviously red bull performance is what really matters.

  11. Jose Lopes da Silva
    30th September 2020, 9:32

    1989 rookies according to 1988 results

    MORENO: 1988 Formula 3000 champion
    GROUILLARD: Formula 3000, vice
    GACHOT: Formula 3000, 5th
    FOITEK: Formula 3000, 7th
    HERBERT: Formula 3000, 8th
    RAPHANEL: Formula 3000, 13th
    WEIDLER: Formula 3000, 16th
    SUZUKI: Japanese Formula 3000 champion
    WINKELHOCK: German Formula 3 champion

    2020 rookies according to 2019 results

    DE VRIES: 2019 Formula 2 champion
    LATIFI: Formula 2, vice
    AITKEN: Formula 2, 5th
    ZHOU: Formula 2, 7th
    DELÉTRAZ: Formula 2, 8th
    CORREA: Formula 2, 13th
    MARKELOV: Formula 2, 16th
    CASSIDY: Japanese SuperFormula champion
    SHWARTZMAN: Euro Formula 3 champion

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