Who is Robert Shwartzman? The 2019 F3 Champion now gunning for the F2 title

14-05-2021 09:30
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Who is Robert Shwartzman? The 2019 F3 Champion now gunning for the F2 title

As mentioned in our prior Formula 2 profile, winning Formula 3 is no mean feat, but it’s a strong title to lay your hands on. Robert Shwartzman, Oscar Piastri’s teammate, will have very fond memories of F3 and the, then, Formula 3 European Championship. The Russian joined the likes of George Russell, Charles Leclerc and Piastri to stand atop the podium come to the final race of the season when he was victorious in 2019. Now, he finds himself gunning for an F2 title after a strong showing in his rookie season.

The Ferrari Driver Academy member will no doubt have Formula 1 dreams in his mind but will need a very strong season to fulfil these dreams. How has Robert Shwartzman got to the position he’s in today?

Shwartzman’s career before battling in the F2 championship:

Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on September 16 1999, Shwartzman was a star on the karting scene. Joining karting at the age of five, he became a well-known driver and claimed many titles along the way, with a large majority of these coming in Italy. 

In his 10 year tenure on the karting scene, the Russian driver’s most notable victory came in the WSK Final Cup KFJ. He beat current F1 drivers Lando Norris and Nikita Mazepin and fellow F2 drivers Dan Ticktum and Jehan Daruvala to the title in 2013. Alongside this, he also finished fourth in the KFJ European Championship and stood on the podium, in third, at the KFJ World Championship.

Graduating to singe-seaters in 2014 was just the start of a continuous run of strong finishes for Shwartzman. He raced in six races in the Italian Formula 4 Championship, but became the permanent driver the following season and claimed two wins, placing Mucke Motorsport second in the Constructors' Championship behind Prema and third in the Drivers’ standings behind the Prema duo of Ralf Aron and, current F2 driver, Guanyu Zhou.

2016 came along and he made the switch to compete in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, as well as the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC (Northern European Cup) for Josef Kaufmann Racing. He was paired alongside Lando Norris and Jehan Daruvala is the three driver core for the team. The NEC was a much stronger performance for the Russian than the Eurocup in his first season. He was only able to muster a single podium in the Eurocup and finished in eighth position, scoring 75 points in 15 races. However, in the NEC, Shwartzman was able to find himself at the top of the grid on many occasions. Two wins, three podiums, two fastest laps and a pole position secured him a sixth-place overall finish behind, yet again, his teammates Norris and Daruvala in first and fourth respectively.

The following 2017 Eurocup season was a completely different story. Making the switch to R-ace GP paid off for Shwartzman, as the Russian driver won sixes races on his way to a third overall finish at the end of the season. Alongside this, he achieved 12 podiums, seven pole positions and seven fastest laps. Winning the season opener in Monza was just the starting point for the 21-year-old and just weeks later, back-to-back wins in Rounds 4 and 5 solidified his intent to fight at the top of the Drivers’ standings. A win at the Nurburgring was followed by back-to-back victories and a second place in the three rounds at the Circuit de Catalunya to finish the season.

It was the Toyota Racing series that was next on the calendar for the young Russian and it was another successful one-year spell. He was the only driver to compete in all 15 races, racing for M2 competition and stole the victory away from teammates Richard Verschoor and Marcus Armstrong, despite only having one win in the whole series.

Competing in the 2018 F3 European Championship was just the next thing for Shwartzman to tick off and to keep it short and sweet, he was on top once again driving for Prema. Only two wins for the Russian, with one coming in the season finale at the Hockenheimring, didn’t seem strong, but he finished third overall behind only Dan Ticktum and his teammate Mick Schumacher. To round the season off, he won the rookie standings as well as finishing third in the Driver standings.

Finally, Shwartzman’s F3 Championship season took place in 2019. A superb campaign for Prema racing saw the Russian take three race victories and stand on the podium ten times throughout the season. In addition to this, he took to pole positions and two fastest laps. He claimed victory in the feature race season opener and took his other two victories in France and Monza. Two podiums came to finish the season, in his home race of Sochi, as this secured his championship-winning season with one race spare after dominating the early stages and rounds. The Russian finished ahead of his Prema Racing teammates Marcus Armstrong and Daruvala in second and third respectively.

Shwartzman’s strong start to F2:

After succeeding in F3, the promotion to F2 must’ve been all Shwartzman was hoping for. In his rookie campaign, he was paired alongside Schumacher and everyone knows how that ended. The son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher dominated the field and won the Drivers’ Standings, but Shwartzman was at the top of the standings as well.

Four wins, coming in Austria, Hungary, Belgium and Sakhir, helped the Russian find his way to fourth place by the end of the season. Alongside this, he also achieved six podiums and a single fastest lap. These wins and podiums were crucial for Prema and resulted in the team winning the Constructors’ Championship and having their best season in F2 to date, scoring 12 more points than the success Charles Leclerc and Antonio Fuoco had in 2017.

So far this season it hasn’t started great for Shwartzman. The Russian beat his teammate Piastri in the first Sprint Race of the season and the Feature race, but due to the Australian claiming victory in the second sprint race, he has the upper hand. Piastri sits five points ahead of his teammate with 21 points compared to 16. However, with the next race weekend coming up in Monte Carlo in a weeks time, it will be interesting to see which Prema driver will be on top, once the race weekend has concluded.

Can Robert Shwartzman win F2 this season? Let us know in the comments where you think he will finish!

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