Callum Ilott discusses ‘family’ feel at Ferrari Driver Academy compared to Red Bull

Jamie Woodhouse
Callum Ilott, Ferrari, looks at camera. Bahrain, March 2021.

Ferrari junior driver Callum Ilott looks into the camera. Bahrain, March 2021.

Having served as both a Red Bull and Ferrari junior, Callum Ilott said that the “family” vibe could be found at Ferrari.

The British racer had plenty of eyes on him as he made his way up through the junior ranks, getting his first taste of F1 team affiliation when he was a part of the Red Bull Junior Team in 2015.

Dropped after not winning a race in the Formula 3 European Championship that year, Ilott later became a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, finishing runner-up to Mick Schumacher in the 2020 Formula 2 Championship, and serving as Alfa Romeo reserve driver for that season and the prior one, a role which he continued to perform in 2022.

Ilott was also Ferrari’s test driver for the 2021 F1 season.

Most recently competing in IndyCar, the 24-year-old Ilott remains affiliated to the FDA, and he would explain on the Formula Scout podcast how the approaches of Ferrari and Red Bull differ.

“Red Bull was very singular,” Ilott stated. “So you have this person [saying] ‘you’ll do this and you’ll do that, good luck’ kind of thing.

“It’s obviously not that simple, but that was kind of the feeling and you’re like ‘okay’. And you get feedback every now and then.

“FDA was very like you’ll join these other kids, you’re going to be doing this, this is your training schedule. Like, we’ll do this together, a bit more family orientated.”

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Ilott also spoke of the increased involvement as part of the Ferrari set-up, practically living at their factory, while with Red Bull he rarely even stepped foot in it.

He also explained how there is a degree of freedom with Ferrari when it comes to career decisions.

“You know, with the Red Bull stuff, I rarely went to the factory, whereas with Ferrari, I was living at the factory,” Ilott stated.

“So you get to see all of this stuff, and it was also a bit of a learning exercise because the FDA was changing with people and the insides of it. So it was a bit more of a journey of like ‘what do they give you as a driver?’. So that was changing year after year [in terms of] what you were doing and all of this sort of stuff.

“With Red Bull, it was very much ‘okay, you’re driving Carlin F3′. With Ferrari, I made a lot of the decisions myself with teams and stuff like that. Obviously you have to get their approval, but it wasn’t like they were doing it for me. It was like ‘here’s the opportunities I have, what do you think?’.

“‘We think this’. And then I go ‘okay, but I think this, this, and this’.”