Ferrari reserve driver Robert Shwartzman will drive during the first session of free practice for the Dutch GP instead of Carlos Sainz. Shwartzman had also previously taken part in rookie sessions in 2022.
Ferrari reserve driver Robert Shwartzman will replace Carlos Sainz behind the wheel of the SF-23 for the first session of free practice in the Netherlands. Shwartzman first entered the Ferrari Driver Academy in 2017 and has since competed in the Formula 3 and Formula 2 Championship. However, in 2023 he was released from the junior programme and promoted to reserve driver for the team.
Shwartzman had also subbed in for Ferrari drivers for the rookie outings in 2022 in Austin and Abu Dhabi. Now, he expressed his happiness for the opportunity given on Instagram: “It’s an honour to be chosen again by Scuderia Ferrari for the Formula 1 rookie Free Practice sessions and I am very excited to drive the SF-23 for the first time this week.
I really look forward to the very challenging Zandvoort circuit and enjoying every second of driving an F1 car once more.”
Back in Abu Dhabi
The opportunity presented to the Russian is the first of the two mandatory rookie outings for Ferrari, as teams are mandated to run rookies in free practice at least twice a year. Shwartzman is also the first non-official driver to take part in FP1 this year, as scheduling has proven particularly complex for teams in 2023 due to a number of different problems, such as the presence of sprint events and street circuits, which are not suitable for inexperienced drivers.
The choice then for Ferrari was not to give the opportunity to any of its F2 drivers. Ferrari Team Principal Fred Vasseur told Motorsport.com: “We will try to give them opportunities of testing either on the 2021 car or something else before the end of the season. But I want to push them to stay focussed on the F2 championship.”
Hence, fans can expect to see Shwartzman back before the end of the season: “Robert will do Zandvoort in Carlos’ car, and he’ll do another one, probably Abu Dhabi, in Charles’ car.”