What Haas are looking for in Ilott’s FP1 debut

Mark Scott
Callum Ilott Alfa Romeo Abu Dhabi test

Alfa Romeo to field Callum Ilott in Abu Dhabi young driver test.

All eyes will be on Ferrari’s juniors at the Nurburgring on Friday as Callum Ilott and Mick Schumacher brace for their FP1 debuts.

Schumacher will be in the Alfa Romeo car while Ilott will be put through his paces at Ferrari’s other customer team in Haas.

The American outfit are yet to confirm either of their drivers for the 2021 season, so the 21-year-old from Cambridge, England will be eager to impress.

However, Haas boss Guenther Steiner is not necessarily looking for him to light up the timesheet.

“The program will be the same as it would be for one of our regular drivers,” Steiner said.

“Maybe we tell him to be a little bit more careful when he goes out there as at the moment rain is predicted.

“Otherwise, we just always try and work through our FP1 program and do the best we can knowing that for a driver being in his first weekend session in a Formula 1 car – there’s a lot of pressure, a lot of unknowns.

“We don’t look too much at the time, we’re looking at his consistency and the feedback he can bring to the team.

“That’s where we judge a driver, not on outright pace, because 90 minutes is not a long time to be sitting in a car like a Formula 1 car.

“We’ll just try to manage that we get feedback and that he gets a good experience with us.”

Ilott, who sits second in the F2 World Championship behind Mick Schumacher, has some Formula 1 experience having tested for Alfa Romeo during the 2019 in-season test.

He also recently geared up for his FP1 debut by testing Ferrari’s SF71H at the Fiorano circuit last week.

“It’s a real privilege to get my first run in a free practice session, especially to do it with Haas F1 Team,” Ilott recently said.

“It’s amazing to have this chance at a track that is one of my favorites – it was where I scored the first podium of my career back in 2015.

“The Nurburgring means a lot to me and is a track with a real heritage, so it’s great that I’ll have my first outing at a Formula 1 race weekend there.

“Thanks to Haas F1 Team and to the Ferrari Driver Academy for giving me such a great opportunity. It should be really fun and exciting.

“I plan to make the most of it, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

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