From 2022, Formula 1 sporting regulations require the presence at least twice per season of a driver with limited Grand Prix experience to be allowed to take part in a team’s Free Practice session. In Ferrari’s case, that figure will be Robert Shwartzman.
Formula 1 will give opportunities to ‘young drivers’ to get as close as possible to the regular drivers. To this end, there will be a total of two Free Practice 1 sessions during the season in which a ‘young driver’ will necessarily have to take the seat of one of the two regular drivers.
A ‘young driver’ is considered to be any driver who has competed in less than two Formula 1 GPs, and there is already a lot of speculation about which driver can get into the car of each of the teams.
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In the case of Ferrari, the solution is simple. To replace Carlos Sainz and/or Charles Leclerc, the Scuderia has ‘named’ Robert Shwartzman as the designated driver for the task, as the Russian is Ferrari’s third driver and simulator driver.
In a video on social networks, both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz confirmed that the driver who will do those Free Practices will be just Robert Shwartzman and the video was posted by Ferrari, so it can be considered semi-official.
Robert Shwartzman was Mick Schumacher’s teammate in Formula 2 in 2020 and after an irregular 2021, the Russian driver will no longer compete in the secondary category and will focus entirely on his Formula 1 tasks, which could involve sessions also with the Haas team.