Mattia Binotto believes Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman ‘deserves’ Formula 1 seat

Henry Valantine
Mattia Binotto with Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman. Spa August 2022.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto walks with reserve driver Robert Shwartzman. Spa August 2022.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has hailed test driver Robert Shwartzman as a “fantastic” talent worthy of a full-time seat in Formula 1.

The 23-year-old has been on test and reserve duties for Ferrari this season after finishing runner-up in last season’s Formula 2 Championship behind McLaren-bound Oscar Piastri.

Shwartzman, also the 2019 Formula 3 champion, will get his first taste of a Formula 1 weekend when he takes part in FP1 in Austin for Ferrari, and the Israeli-licensed driver has also taken part in several tests for the Scuderia and Haas – most recently taking Ferrari’s 2021 car for a drive at Mugello in the summer.

But any immediate prospects of challenging for a race seat at Ferrari are not an option for Shwartzman, as both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are contracted with the team until the end of the 2024 season.

But despite that, team principal Binotto hopes to see him emerge somewhere else on the grid, given the career trajectory he has had so far.

“Robert is a fantastic driver,” Binotto told reporters, responding to a question from Autosport. “I think he’s very fast, especially in an F1 [car].

“Whenever he drove an F1 [car] he has been very fast with the F1 itself. There are drivers that maybe are great in F3, F2 and then are not good enough in F1.

“I think Robert is one of the opposites. He has been great certainly in F3, F2 but he’s very, very strong in F1. And so it’s a shame for him not having any seat at the moment.”

Shwartzman has been working away behind the scenes within Ferrari this season, looking to play his part in the team’s progression with the F1-75.

While his on-track running has been limited compared to his full-time colleagues, Binotto believes he has continued to show personal growth and improvements when behind the wheel.

“This season he has worked a lot at the simulator. He has worked a lot helping our team in developing the current car,” he explained.

“I think as a driver he has improved, he has developed his own skills, and today he’s a lot more mature even to a year ago. And so I think he’s a driver that would deserve a seat.

“We know it’s very difficult right now in this situation, but hopefully in the future that may happen.”

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