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