Callum Ilott, Ferrari, Fiorano, 2021

Alfa Romeo’s new reserve driver Ilott to run in Friday practice

2021 F1 season

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Callum Ilott will make his first of several appearances in a practice session for Alfa Romeo at this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old has been announced as the team’s new reserve driver. He will participate in Friday’s first practice session, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car.

Ilott will share the reserve role with Robert Kubica, who will be unable to appear for the team at some rounds due to clashing commitments racing in the European Le Mans Series. The Ferrari Driver Academy member was due to have his first outing in an official practice session last year with Haas in the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. However poor weather on the Friday prevented any F1 sessions from taking place.

Alfa Romeo’s new reserve driver already has experience of their cars from testing. “The two sessions I had with the team in the last two years have been extremely useful in getting me accustomed to the way a Formula 1 team works,” said Ilott. “I am confident I can hit the ground running in my new role as one of the reserve drivers at Alfa Romeo.”

Ilott finished runner-up to Mick Schumacher in Formula 2 last year. “His journey through the junior series has been an impressive one and he is without doubt one of the most talented young drivers coming through the ranks,” said Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur.

“He has worked with us before, each time leaving a lasting impression thanks to his work ethic and good feedback, and I have no doubt he will be a very positive addition to Robert Kubica, who will be unavailable on various occasions due to his other racing programmes.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “Alfa Romeo’s new reserve driver Ilott to run in Friday practice”

  1. If Giovinazzi continues to underwhelm for Alfa Romeo, I think they should get Illot in for next year. Based on his junior career, it seems like Illot is definitely a decent driver, not quite on the level of the likes of Russell, Norris, or Leclerc, but definitely would rate him around Albon’s level. He also seems extremely quick over one-lap, even though he may struggle more in races; the complete inverse of Mick Schumacher’s junior record really.

    1. I wonder if those talents from F2 are always the best and how would Illot compare to C. Hertha, or P. O’Ward from Indycar for example. Obviously he’s more prepared for F1 and have the easier way in from F2, but still.

      1. With the lack of overlap between those drivers and Illot, you can’t really tell where exactly he would stand in relation to either Herta or O’Ward.

        Looking at their records in the European series they competed in, O’Ward’s main competitions in Europe were in the French Formula 4 series, albeit only running for part of the season – his form was fairly solid, but maybe not the most eye catching in that field, and the only driver from that series that some might recognise would be Boccolacci.

        With Herta, he cropped up in the British Formula 4 championship, where he was 3rd (with Norris taking the title that season). He then cropped up in the Euroformula Formula 3 series, where he was 3rd, although that is one of the smaller Formula 3 series and most would probably not recognise most of the drivers in that series.

        How those drivers might then do if they were dropped into an F1 car is hard to tell, but the situation probably wouldn’t be that favourable given that they would face an even steeper learning curve – not only having to adapt to the cars themselves, but also having to adapt to the circuits that they are racing at given most of those circuits would be alien to them.

  2. They’ll need him sooner or later. Maybe Raikkonen wants to have a taste of the ground effect aero concept next year, but I don’t see him staying much longer. Giovinazzi is what he is, so they even may have two seats for 2023.

    1. Giovinazzi has had plenty of time to impress. It’s been two underwhelming seasons in a row for him, and the 3rd looks to have gotten off to a similar start. While I do think Kimi is performing decently well, the person in that 2nd seat needs to show more potential and speed than a 41 year old driver.

      I think Alfa is looking for the next Russell, Leclerc or Norris in that 2nd seat, and Gio definitely isn’t up to that level. I can say with relative certainty that Gio will be getting dropped soon, and it’s time for them to groom a new prospect. Illot definitely has the potential to impress.. so it makes sense to start giving him FP sessions this season.

    2. Another useless Brit…as if there aren’t enough…

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