The 2020 Formula 1 season is finally over. It has been one of the most compressed, with just 163 days separating the first race in Austria on 5 July and today’s test. It is also the first time since the Sixties that the last race of the season has taken place as late as mid-December. The final track action was today’s Young Driver Test at the Yas Marina Circuit which hosted the last round of the season. Driving the two SF1000s were Antonio Fuoco and Robert Shwartzman, while Ferrari Driver Academy talents Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott were also on track with Haas F1 Team and Alfa Romeo Racing respectively.
Callum test driver. This morning, as the cars took to the track for the final time this year, it was officially confirmed that Callum Ilott will take on the role of Scuderia Ferrari test driver as from next year. The Englishman has had a brilliant time in Formula 2 this year, finishing as runner-up in the championship with three wins and five pole positions to his name.
Robert’s debut. For Shwartzman, this was his first appearance in an official Formula 1 test session. Back on 30 September, as part of the FDA’s #RoadToF1 programme, the Russian, along with Mick and Callum, drove an SF71H at the Fiorano track. At the wheel of the number 35 car, the 21-year-old from St Petersburg drove out of the pits at 9am on the dot to get the test day started. Robert was not at all flustered at the prospect of making his debut on the Formula 1 stage, completing a first run of 5 laps to get to know the car, before getting stuck in to the day’s programme. He completed 129 laps, more than two Grand Prix distances, on the C4 and C5 compound tyres. His best time was a 1.38.157, set in the final hour of the session, when the track surface was at its best, with the car in qualifying trim and running the Soft C5 tyres.
Fourth test for Antonio. Across the garage from Shwartzman was a former FDA driver, now a driver coach at the Academy, and one of the Scuderia’s simulator experts, Antonio Fuoco. The Italian drove an SF1000 bearing the number 32, with the main goal being a comparison between the real car and the virtual one in which he has racked up so many miles over the course of this year. This was Antonio’s fourth on-track test with the Scuderia. Previously he has driven at Spielberg in 2015 and at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit in 2016 and 2019. He completed 126 laps, the best in 1.37.817, set on the C5 tyres.
Schumacher and Ilott. Schumacher and Ilott also had a busy time. The newly crowned Formula 2 champion made the most of the day to continue his apprenticeship with the team for whom he will race next season. The German completed 122 laps, the best being a 1.39.947 on the C5 tyre. This was the second time Callum Ilott had tested a Formula 1 car, having done 41 laps of the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, equivalent to 191 kilometres, back in May last year with Alfa Romeo Racing. Today, he did 93 laps with a best time of 1.37.826, also using the C5 compound.
Robert Shwarzman #35
"I feel very good, awesome, it’s a dream come true! You know when you are a little kid and you are watching Ferrari winning, and you always dreamed about ‘when is that day going to come when I am going to sit in it and drive this car?’ It happened today and it was very nice. I feel like this is just the beginning, this is the point when you understand you just started your job and you need to work hard and improve, so I am happy I finally reached that point where I made that step for my future. It’s very nice. It wasn’t the easiest day and I am quite exhausted now because I had a lot of new things to deal with, a lot of information and a lot of running!
The back of my neck is a bit sore, from the heavy braking, but apart from that, I am feeling really well. Steering wise, driving this car is easier than the F2 cars, so no problems there. I did the most laps today and each one of them felt really cool."
Antonio Fuoco #32
"This was a very good day and we managed to get through our programme, completing 126 laps, which is more than two race distances. Along with the team, we gathered a lot of data to analyse which will be useful for next season.
As a driver that specialises in working in the simulator, it is extremely useful for me to be able to get in the real car from time to time to reacquaint myself with what it feels like being in the cockpit. On top of that, we were able to work specifically on verifying the correlation between our tools in Maranello and the SF1000 on track.
Finally, I should say that every time I get offered the chance to jump in a Ferrari, I get rather excited. As an Italian, I’m very proud to be part of this family for the past eight years and I thank the team for having chosen me to drive again this time."
Callum Ilott Scuderia Ferrari test driver
"I am very pleased to be joining Scuderia Ferrari as its test driver from next year.
I look forward to contributing to the work the team does on and off track, and to all of the new things I can learn by taking on this exciting new challenge. I will give my all to do a good job and gain as much experience as possible to continue making progress as a driver.
I would like to thank the Ferrari Driver Academy and Scuderia Ferrari for this great opportunity and their support. It has been an honour to be part of their programme for the past three years and I am pleased to continue our journey together."