Binotto says Shwartzman is worthy of an F1 race seat for FP1 debut

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The 23-year-old, now driving under his Israeli passport and license in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, will perform the two mandatory FP1 rookie sessions for Ferrari at the US and Abu Dhabi GPs.

Shwartzman won the 2019 FIA Formula 3 title before spending two seasons in Formula 2, finishing fourth in 2020 and second to Oscar Piastri last year.

He had his first public F1 outing when he drove for Ferrari in December at the Abu Dhabi 2020 rookie rookie test, before appearing for both the works team and Haas at the same event last year.

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This year he gained more experience when he drove the 2018 SF17H at Fiorano in January and the 2021 SF21 at Mugello in July.

He has not raced this season but has been busy working on Ferrari’s new simulator, while his FP1 forays are in part intended to contribute to the correlation process.

With Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both signed long-term contracts, there is no clear chance for Shwartzman at Ferrari.

Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

Binotto, however, insists he is worth a race ride and intriguingly suggested that he shone in the tests he had done so far.

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“Robert is a fantastic driver,” he said when asked by TBEN for his opinion of the 23-year-old. “I think he is very fast, especially in F1.

“Every time he drove an F1, he was very fast with F1 itself. There are drivers who may be great in F3, F2 and then not good enough in F1.

“I think Robert is one of the polar opposites. He’s certainly been great in F3, F2, but he’s very, very strong in F1. So it’s a shame he doesn’t have a seat at the moment.”

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Binotto paid tribute to Shwartzman’s contribution to Maranello: “This season he has worked a lot on the simulator. He has worked a lot to help our team develop the current car.

“I think he has improved as a driver, he has developed his own skills and today he is a lot more mature, even until a year ago. And so I think he’s a driver who would deserve a seat.

“We know it’s very difficult at the moment in this situation, but hopefully it will be in the future.”