Ferrari make every effort to let juniors drive free practice in Abu Dhabi

14-10-2020 06:41 | Updated: 14-10-2020 09:16
F1 News
Ferrari make every effort to let juniors drive free practice in Abu Dhabi

In the past, Red Bull's junior programme was always praised for the new talents it brought to Formula 1. That source now seems to have temporarily dried up and it is the Ferrari Driver Academy that comes up with the best talents. Laurent Mekies of Ferrari explains how he thinks this is coming.

Ferrari talents Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott are currently first and second in the F2 championship, while Robert Shwartzman, the Russian who won the F3 championship last year is fighting for third place. According to Ferrari, that is no coincidence.

Juniors really are part of the team

"These guys are on the right track," says Mekies in the F1 Nation podcast. "Not only do we now dominate Formula 2, but last year we also dominated Formula 3. What's more, they really are part of Scuderia Ferrari. Mattia [Binotto] personally manages it. It gives us headaches to choose the right driver and continue to develop the others, but that is a good problem to have".

"We believe that the best drivers of the future will be integrated into the team at an early stage. We don't just try to be there during the race weekend. That's why most of these guys already live near Maranello. We believe that there is room to develop talent, in addition to the talent they already have."

Schumacher and co. will get another chance at free practice this year.

Mekies thinks that the boys from Formula 2 are absolutely ready for Formula 1 and says that teams like Haas and Alfa Romeo therefore have no trouble making room for them. However, now that their chance of driving a free practice session at the Nüburgring fell into the water, a new opportunity has to be found.

"For Abu Dhabi there is no chance of that, but we are going to do our very best to give them that chance", said Mekies. Portimao could theoretically also be possible, but since this is a circuit where no team has any experience, Ferrari doesn't want to saddle its client teams with a debutant in the car during one of the free practice sessions.

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