Ferrari has given Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman track time in a 2018 car at Fiorano ahead of their FP1 debuts later this season.
The Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) trio will all take part in at least one FP1 session between now and the end of the year, with Schumacher and Ilott driving at the Nurburgring next weekend for Alfa Romeo and Haas respectively. Shwartzman will then get a run at Abu Dhabi, and Wednesday’s test in the SF71H was his debut in F1 machinery.
“I have dreamed of the day when I would drive a Formula 1 car for the first time ever since I was a little kid, and finally today was the day,” Shwartzman said. “Driving this car was fantastic and great fun.
“The power is what strikes you most: when you accelerate the horsepower never seems to stop. The brakes are equally impressive: the car stops when it feels as though it’s too late to make the corner.
“Apart from the actual driving, it was also special to work with the team. There are a lot of them and they pay attention to every little detail. They really work at a very high level. Thanks to everyone who made this memorable day possible.”
Shwartzman – who is fifth in the Formula 2 standings – drove first before handing over to Ilott and then championship leader Schumacher. The head of the FDA technical department, Marco Matassa, says he was impressed by how quickly all three got up to speed on a hectic day.
“I am very pleased with how today went,” Matassa said. “I’d like to thank the Scuderia Ferrari race team for its support, because in the middle of such a busy season, it’s no small matter to change the car configuration to suit the individual needs of all three drivers, while helping them get to grips with something as complex as a hybrid-powered Formula 1 car.
“On the technical front I’m happy with the way Mick, Callum and Robert quickly got used to the SF71H. For two of them this wasn’t their first time in a Formula 1 car, but even so it’s not easy to switch from the driving style demanded from a Formula 2 car to one best suited to Formula 1. 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 on Friday at the Nurburgring.
“On a purely emotional level, it was wonderful to see the lads in their red race suit in front of their Ferrari, posing for the group photo, especially with Robert who was having his very first drive in a Formula 1 car, which is an unforgettable moment for any driver.”