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Binotto says Shwartzman worthy of F1 race seat ahead of FP1 debut

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto believes that the team’s development driver Robert Shwartzman deserves a Formula 1 seat.

Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari

Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari

Ferrari

The 23-year-old, who is now running under his Israeli passport and licence in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, will undertake 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 runner-up to Oscar Piastri last year.

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

This year he gained further 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 on Ferrari’s new simulator while his FP1 outings are in part intended to contribute to the correlation process.

With Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both signed up to long term contracts, there is no obvious opportunity for Shwartzman at Ferrari.

Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari

Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

However, Binotto insists that he is worthy of a race drive, and intriguingly suggested that he has shone in the testing that he had done thus far.

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

"Whenever he drove an F1 he has been very fast with the F1 itself. There are drivers that maybe are a great in F3, F2 and then are not good enough in the F1.

“I think Robert is one of the opposites. He has been great certainly in F3, F2 but he's very, very strong in F1. And so it's a shame for him not having any seat at the moment.”

Binotto paid tribute to the contribution that Shwartzman has made at Maranello: “This season he has worked a lot at the simulator. He has worked a lot helping our team in developing the current car.

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

“We know it's very difficult right now in this situation, but hopefully in the future that may happen.”

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