Ferrari juniors Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott to make F1 practice debuts at Eifel GP
Mick Schumacher will make his official Grand Prix weekend debut with Alfa Romeo at the Nurburgring, Ferrari have announced.
Mick, son of Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher, is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA), and is currently leading the F2 championship with just two rounds to go at Bahrain in November and December.
The 21-year-old has already driven contemporary Formula 1 machinery, having got behind the wheel of the Ferrari SF90 at a test at Bahrain last year, and he has also driven several of his father's former cars, including the Ferrari F2004 at Mugello earlier this month. But now he is set to take part in an F1 race weekend for the first time at the Eifel Grand Prix, where he will drive Alfa Romeo’s C39 car in the first practice session.
Schumacher’s fellow FDA drivers Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman will also make their Grand Prix weekend debuts this year, with Ilott driving Haas’s car in FP1 at the Nurburgring, while Shwartzman will get his chance at the final Friday of the 2020 championship in Abu Dhabi.
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Alfa Romeo have confirmed Schumacher will step into Antonio Giovinazzi's car for the first practice session at the German track next month.
Schumacher said: “I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice. The fact that my first participation in a Formula 1 weekend will take place in front of my home audience at the Nurburgring makes this moment even more special.
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"I would like to thank Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and the Ferrari Driver Academy for giving me the opportunity to get another taste of Formula 1 air one and a half years after our common test drive in Bahrain.
"For the next ten days I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”
Alfa Romeo Team Principal Fred Vasseur added: “There is no doubt that Mick is one of the great talents coming through the feeder series’ ranks and his recent results have been showing it. He is obviously quick, but he is also consistent and mature behind the wheel – all hallmarks of a champion in the making."
Schumacher's F2 title rival Ilott said he is thrilled to be able to drive the Haas VF-20 at the Nurburgring.
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“It’s a real privilege to get my first run in a free practice session, especially to do it with Haas F1 Team,” the 21-year-old said. “It’s amazing to have this chance at a track that is one of my favourites – it was where I scored the first podium of my career back in 2015.
"The Nurburgring means a lot to me and is a track with a real heritage, so it’s great that I’ll have my first outing at a Formula 1 race weekend there. Thanks to Haas F1 Team and to the Ferrari Driver Academy for giving me such a great opportunity. It should be really fun and exciting. I plan to make the most of it, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Ferrari have announced that to prepare their three F2 aces for F1 running, they will conduct a test session with the team’s 2018 race car at Fiorano on Wednesday.
Laurent Mekies, FDA Director and Ferrari Sporting Director said: “We wanted to organise this test session so that our three best youngsters would be as well prepared as possible to tackle an event that will always be a special moment for them.
“It will be a chance to get to grips with a Formula 1 car, which is much more complicated than the car they are currently used to driving.
“I would like to thank Haas and Alfa Romeo Racing for offering Callum, Mick and Robert this opportunity. We believe strongly in our Academy, which has already proved its value, with Charles Leclerc, a driver on which the Scuderia can build its long term future.
“Callum, Mick and Robert have already proved their worth in the current Formula 2 season and this test is a further step in their education.”