Ilott: Ferrari F1 debut at Fiorano ‘unforgettable’

Date published: September 30 2020

Callum Ilott described his debut in a Ferrari F1 car as “unforgettable” after driving a 2018 model at Fiorano ahead of his FP1 debut.

The Briton joined fellow Ferrari Academy drivers Mick Schumacher and Robert Shwartzman at the test track in Italy, with all three undergoing preparations for their practice outings coming up during the remainder of the 2020 season.

Schumacher, Ilott and Shwartzman, who have all shone in the Formula 2 championship this year, were quick to adjust to the car, according to Ferrari Driver Academy technical chief Marco Matassa.

“It’s not easy to switch from the driving style demanded from an F2 car to one best suited to Formula 1,” said Matassa, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“The car has much more power, a significantly more sophisticated braking system and power steering that requires sensitivity and precision to use properly.

“However, they were all quick and immediately began running at a good pace. I believe the laps they did today will be very useful when Mick and Callum run next Friday at the Nurburgring.”

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F2 championship leader Schumacher will drive for Alfa Romeo in opening practice for the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring as he looks to strengthen his case for an elevation to F1.

Mick Schumacher Ferrari Academy Driver

It was Schumacher’s third outing in contemporary F1 machinery following test appearances for Ferrari and Alfa Romeo last year after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“It was very useful to get used to all the procedures again, which are pretty complex, and also with how a team works at this top level of the sport,” said Schumacher, son of Michael, the seven-time former World Champion.

“I can’t wait to jump into the cockpit in Germany and it will be nice to take part in a practice session for the first time in front of my home crowd.

“In the team, there are some mechanics who worked with my father and that will make the day even more special.”

Ilott made his first appearance in a Ferrari F1 car at Fiorano, having only previously tested for Alfa Romeo, and called it an “unforgettable day”.

Set to replace Romain Grosjean in FP1 for Haas at the Nurburgring, he added: “Today I was able to get to grips with the car with just nine days to go to my debut on a grand prix weekend.”

Ilott and Schumacher are believed to be in contention for F1 drives in 2021, with Ferrari having possible slots for their junior drivers at Alfa Romeo and Haas to whom they provide engines.

For Shwartzman, Wednesday’s running marked his first outing in an F1 car having only previously driven as high as F2.

The Russian will drive in FP1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but for which team has yet to be announced.

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