Robert Shwartzman wants to swap sim for the real thing after Ferrari FP1 run

Sam Cooper
Mattia Binotto with Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman. Spa August 2022.

Robert Shwartzman believes the fire has been reignited to leave sim work and get back out on track after driving the Ferrari car.

The Russo-Israeli took the place of Charles Leclerc for FP1 as part of the FIA’s rules to see more rookies given track time and impressed as he went fastest of the non-full time racers to take part. He will perform the same role for Ferrari at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old, who races under the Israeli flag, has gone a season without competitive driving on the track as he became Ferrari’s test driver for 2022 having previously competed in F2.

He finished the 2021 F2 season second behind Oscar Piastri in the Drivers’ standings and Shwartzman admitted that driving the car had made him want to return to the track.

“Yes, of course,” he replied when he was asked if a fire had been reignited to get back into a racing car. “Always the situation is my target is to get racing. I really would like to go race as driving an F1 car it feels awesome. Even if it’s just a few laps but still it’s amazing.

“The work on the sim, obviously now I’m going to be a bit more hyped to work so it’s also a positive thing.

“We have another one [FP1] coming in Abu Dhabi where I feel I’m more confident because I already know the track and I think also by having few laps on the car, I will really know what to expect.

“So I think that Abu Dhabi should be even better with improvements. Let’s see how it’s gonna go but I’m really looking forward to that.”

Shwartzman was not the only rookie to be thrilled by his experience with Théo Pourchaire describing as it as the “best hour of my life.” Shwartzman was not as emotive but still described it as “awesome.”

“It was awesome, to be honest. It was awesome and hard. Obviously, I haven’t driven a car in a while. This year most of my work was on the sim, which obviously, you know, your body forgets all the feelings of driving in a real car – getting the real bumps, the g-forces, was something very, very new.”

“The only target for me mainly was to have the progression, to go step-by-step, do not do any mistakes, do what Ferrari asked me to do, which we did.”

Shwartzman was swapped back out for Leclerc in FP2 with the senior Ferrari man setting the fastest time of the session.

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