Callum Ilott will not have to set an eye-catching lap time to impress Haas on his FP1 debut at the Eifel Grand Prix, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.
The British Formula 2 driver is making his first appearance in Haas machinery on Friday morning in Germany, with the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) keen to see both Ilott and Mick Schumacher in action, with the latter scheduled to drive for Alfa Romeo. While both will be making their FP1 debuts and in similarly-matched cars at the Nurburgring, Steiner said the focus will not be on one-lap pace when trying to judge Ilott’s potential.
“The program will be the same as it would be for one of our regular drivers,” Steiner said. “Maybe we tell him (Callum) 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’s appearance comes at the second venue that was not on the original 2020 season calendar, and Steiner is hopeful that Haas will be able to benefit from another chaotic race like the one delivered by the first new addition.
“Hopefully we can get a Mugello-style race,” he said. “That was an interesting one for all the teams, all the spectators, basically it was great for everyone involved in it. The unknowns just kept coming towards us. Hopefully the same thing happens this weekend at the Nurburgring.
“As I said before, rain is the prediction for Germany, that will make things even more interesting. The best outcome will be if we have a good race, with lots of variables, and from our perspective, to come home with some points – something we haven’t achieved a lot of this year.”