Shwartzman to step in for Sainz in first Dutch GP practice

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Ferrari honour their ‘young driver’ free practice committment by running Robert Shwartzman at Zandvoort.

In brief

Shwartzman to make third F1 practice appearance this weekend

Ferrari have confirmed that their reserve driver Robert Shwartzman will take the place of Carlos Sainz Jnr in the first practice session at this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix.

Shwartzman was previously a Ferrari junior, and after coming second in the Formula 2 championship in 2021 he served as Ferrari’s test driver last year. That included driving in FP1 at the United States and Abu Dhabi grands prix, as each Formula 1 team was obliged to run a ‘young driver’ in two practice sessions over the year.

That rule remains in place for 2023, and Shwartzman is set to be Ferrari’s nominated driver for both of the required sessions this season.

“Robert will do Zandvoort in Carlos [Sainz]’s car, and he will do another one – probably Abu Dhabi – in the Charles [Leclerc] car,” revealed Ferrari’s team principal Frederic Vasseur to media including RaceFans, explaining that it was Sainz’s choice of circuit for giving up his car.

“I know that it’s not an easy situation, but Carlos was very direct. It’s not so easy to decide because for sure you can’t do it in Singapore, in Japan, in Las Vegas, and also you have some sprint events in Austin, Qatar and so that you can do it. Then you have the races with the tyre allocation a bit different. It’s also tricky to do it. But it means that at the end of the day you don’t have so many options.”

Alonso thought he could match Schumacher when he arrived in F1

Michael Schumacher was already a three-times F1 world champion by the time Fernando Alonso debuted in 2001, but the then-19-year-old rookie knew he had what it takes to beat the benchmark driver of the time.

“When I got to F1, Michael was dominating the sport. But I never thought that I was slower than him, in a way,” Alonso said on Jake Humphrey’s High Performance podcast. “Maybe it was just a kamikaze approach to F1 and to start of my career, but I never doubt that having the same car maybe I could challenge him one day. So that’s how all my career went so far.”

Alonso was already fighting Schumacher for wins by his second F1 season, and left him in its wake in 2005 and 2006 as he won the title and ended Schumacher’s five-tear unbeaten run.

Brabham makes another Indy Nxt comeback

Matthew Brabham, grandson of three-times F1 world champion Jack, will drive for Juncos Hollinger Racing in Indy Nxt at the Gateway oval this weekend.

The Stadium Super Trucks star first raced in Indy Nxt in 2014 with Andretti Autosport, and following that was briefly promoted into its Formula E team. He then returned to Indy Nxt for the first two rounds of 2015, and eventually earned an IndyCar debut a year later.

But his time in single-seater’s top tier was once again short-lived, only getting two races apiece in FE and IndyCar, and last year he was back on the Indy Nxt grid with Andretti. He won two races and came third in the standings, but no options presented themselves for 2023 so he returned to trucks.

However last month Juncos called him up as an Indy Nxt stand-in at Iowa Speedway, and then Cape Motorsports did the same in Nashville. Now Juncos has summoned him again for another outing.

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Comment of the day

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner and his German driver Nico Hulkenberg have recently talked about the prospect of F1 racing in Germany in the future as the series becomes less popular in the country. Steiner thinks a race would be a boost for local fans, but engaging new ones may be difficult now.

I don’t get why nobody is stating the obvious, even Hülkenberg might not be aware of that: You cannot watch F1 live on German TV without a dedicated SKY subscription. And this is simply not common here, most people do have an Amazon Prime, Netflix or Disney+ subscription, SKY is comparatively rare and expensive.

And even F1TV Pro is NOT available, you can only book F1TV without the live coverage. It’s SKY or nothing.

In my opinion, that’s the reason, not the lack of a successful German driver or team or environmental discussions. For most people it’s just no happening as it’s not on free TV anymore.
Tim Crimson

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Innim and Tomas!

On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 1953 Alberto Ascari scored his final world championship race win and sealed his second championship in this Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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19 comments on “Shwartzman to step in for Sainz in first Dutch GP practice”

  1. At least Ferrari uses the first viable post-summer break opportunity to fill the first part of their season-specific minimum requirement, albeit Suzuka is among the viable options because of being permanent, familiar to most regulars, & has a standard weekend format.

    1. Today’s posts by @jerejj are sponsored by the word “viable”

  2. RE COTD: I know many people who would like to watch F1 in the UK but don’t want to pay for Sky either. If you don’t have Sky already, you’re looking at a lot of money to get it. Even paying for Sky Sports on Now TV is a lot, £26/month on special offer at the moment, normally £35/month.

    1. Coventry Climax
      23rd August 2023, 10:51

      That might be a valid point. I pay about a tenth of that, and am still constantly considering whether it’s worth it any longer. Mine is a ‘motorsports pack’, so I do get to see other series too, but still.

    2. Exactly, Sky in Germany is €23 a month for the cheapest bundle that includes F1, and that’s for an annual subscription where you don’t really get much out of it for a third of the year. That’s over four times more expensive than F1TV which is unsurprisingly not available for German customers. Through regular means, anyway.

      1. And when you use a VPN? that should work My F1TV subscription works fine in Germany i.c.w. VPN Atlas.

        1. But how many people are going to bother with setting up a VPN, which often has significant costs itself (for one which is high enough bandwidth to support streaming)? There’s also nothing to stop the blocking known VPNs, in fact they may be legally obliged if too many people start doing so, and you would have no comeback to either F1TV or the VPN provider if they did.

          This is a solution for those who are already into F1 and want to keep the costs down. It’s not one which will generically work to increase viewership, not to mention the fact that there will still be seen to be reduced viewing numbers in the country as you’re pretending to be from a different country to gain access.

  3. I know Shwartzman did Zandvoort in Euro F3 in 2018 but that seems like a heck of a physical challenge to throw someone into an F1 car they don’t drive regularly at

    1. Coventry Climax
      23rd August 2023, 10:48

      Maybe. Said it before, but I don’t think the teams are going to be ‘caught out’ by the young driver/rookie running rule, so they must have had it planned to at least some degree. And when it’s planned, the choice for Schwartzman is a deliberate one too, with him knowing about it and given time to prepare. Are they spoiled for choice, by the way?

      We’ll see how he does. Us too, we don’t have much choice, do we?

      1. Not massively spoilt for choice – their other likely junior would be Bearman and he needs to focus on getting back towards the sharper end of the F2 title fight this weekend.

        I wasn’t particularly saying I think Shwartzman will do a bad job, he’s experienced and well-prepared, just more that I’d be taking the blue athletic tape and a couple of ice packs for my neck if I was him :)

        1. Coventry Climax
          23rd August 2023, 14:51

          Ha, could be, as it’s short and twisty, Zandvoort.
          I doubt we’ll get to know whether he sports any of the blue tape beneath his fireproof clothing.
          This would actually be a very nice question to ask, if you guys ever get to interview him.
          Along with: What was your overall preparation and When were you actually notified about this.

  4. Coventry CLimax
    23rd August 2023, 11:00

    Ferrari have Giovinazzi, Schwartzman, Fuoco and Rigon as reserve and development drivers.
    Of those, Schwrtzman seems a logical choice.
    Also, he came second to Piastri in F2, who’s doing quite well over at McLaren, so it’s no surprise Ferrari want to know how Schwartzman compares to that.

    It will put quite a bit of pressure on his shoulders, but hey, that too is what F1 is about; being able to keep your cool.

    1. Coventry Climax
      23rd August 2023, 11:02

      Hmm. Shwartzman without the ‘c’ but with an ‘a’…

    2. That line-up is not exactly a pathway to F1, though, so there’s not a lot of pressure in that regard. Giovinazzi is a known quantity and in all likelihood won’t be back in F1, Antonio Fuoco’s single seater days are already quite a ways behind him, and even when he did F2 almost six years ago now it was more okay than anything special. Both are doing just fine now in Hypercar as well with Ferrari’s AF Corse-run entries. Rigon is older than Vettel, and hasn’t been racing anything other than GT cars for a decade. He seems to be doing good work in the simulator though, because Ferrari’s kept him around for many years in that role.

      The only real young driver is the suddenly-Israeli Shwartzman (who was indeed born in Tel Aviv but until 2022 was proudly racing under a Russian flag). He’s been doing various things for Ferrari, but not a whole lot more aside from that. I’m sure they have a pretty good idea of what he can and cannot do, and there doesn’t seem to be any hint of another team even considering giving him a race seat. This FP outing feels more obligatory than anything anyone is particularly excited about.

      1. Coventry Climax
        23rd August 2023, 15:00

        That’s why I designated Shwartzman the logical choice.
        You’re right about this excercise being obligatory ofcourse, but you could also very well be right about noone at Ferrari being overly excited about it.

  5. pizza_pazzo2004
    23rd August 2023, 14:28


    1. Coventry Climax
      23rd August 2023, 14:57


      We’re aware of your brilliant insight by now, man. But please cut the faecal excrements. (Can’t use the more common four letter word here, but it starts with ‘cra’.)

    2. How about spambot out?

  6. What is now Sky Germany had been showing live F1 coverage in Germany since 1996 when it was the first broadcaster to sign up to take the F1 Digital+ coverage with the first race of the service been the 1996 German GP (With a trial run that was never broadcast done at Silverstone).

    It continued airing F1 after the Digital+ broadcast was shut down at the end of 2002 and was the only broadcaster to continue airing multi-channel coverage by taking the onboard mix that was sent to the local host truck.

    So i guess at least Sky Germany have a history with F1 & have been very supportive of F1 for a long period unlike Sky in the UK & some of the other recent pay tv additions.

    I actually liked the German TV model where you had basic live coverage on free TV with the enhanced pay tv option for those who wanted access to every session live with no ad breaks and the onboard feed & timing screens that DSF+/Premiere Sport/Sky Deutschland offered.

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