Brendon Hartley and Pascal Wehrlein have both been handed new roles in Formula 1, joining Ferrari as part of a four-man simulator team.
Daniil Kvyat’s return to Toro Rosso opened up a position at Maranello, and Ferrari has now confirmed it will use Hartley and Wehrlein as simulator drivers alongside Antonio Fuoco — who is promoted from within the Ferrari Driver Academy — and the continuing position for Davide Rigon.
Hartley, who lost his seat at Toro Rosso after only one season, has experience from the Mercedes simulator in the past, while his stint with STR included seat time in the Red Bull simulator and working with Honda.
Wehrlein spent last year as reserve driver for Mercedes — a role he shared with George Russell — but was released after being unable to find another race seat in F1. The former Sauber driver is racing in Formula E this year but will combine that with the simulator work at Maranello.
Securing two drivers with recent F1 race experience, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the complete simulator line-up shows how seriously the team values the off-track work.
“Our team has taken on four undoubtedly talented drivers, who possess innate feeling, with a strong understanding of race cars and tracks,” Binotto said. “These are exactly the qualities required in the skillful role of driving in a simulator, one of the vital pieces of equipment in the Formula 1 of today.”
Last year, Sebastian Vettel often praised the work being done by Ferrari’s simulator drivers in being able to help the team recover from issues on Fridays at race weekends in order to be more competitive in qualifying and the race.