A decision to promote one of Ferrari’s young drivers to a Formula 1 seat in 2021 will not be influenced solely by performance, says Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto.

Ferrari has a total of five of its Academy drivers racing in Formula 2 this year, with Callum Ilott, Mick Schumacher and Robert Shwartzman making up the top three positions in the 2020 championship standings with four rounds to go.

Ilott currently holds a six-point advantage over Schumacher after taking three victories this season, while F2 rookie and reigning Formula 3 champion Shwartzman is also a three-time winner and is just nine points behind his rivals in third place in the standings.

Ferrari has the possibility of slotting either one of its drivers into an Alfa Romeo seat for next season should they believe its protege's are ready for F1 graduation.

“I think this season in F2 we have great drivers,” Binotto said during the FIA press conference on Friday ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

“We have certainly even three drivers battling for the championship - Robert Shwartman, Callum Ilott and Mick Schumacher.

“I think they are all doing very well. They are shown progress compared to last season. For Robert, it’s his very first season in F2 and normally when you are a rookie it’s certainly more difficult and I think that as a rookie he is doing very well. I think the other two as well are doing well at the moment.

“Looking ahead, looking to next year, I think all of them merit a place into an F1 seat. But I think as well that the second half of the season will be the most important for them, especially for Robert, because he’s a rookie, let’s see how he will progress.”

In July, Binotto praised Schumacher’s progress but stressed Ferrari needed to see more from the German, who requires a top-six finish in the standings if he is to qualify for an F1 superlicence.

Schumacher has enjoyed a strong run of form which has thrust him into title contention having claimed eight podiums so this year, including a first victory at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Asked if a decision to promote one of its juniors into F1 next year will be solely based on performance, Binotto replied: “Will their performance be the only one? No.

“I think more important for a driver is to see he is developing and I think that he’s showing the capacity of developing himself and to make progress.”

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies described Schumacher’s win as a “ray of sunshine” on a tough weekend for the Scuderia at its home race.

A woeful qualifying in which Ferrari missed out on the top 10 at Monza for the first time since 1984 was followed up with a dismal race in which the Italian squad recorded its first non-finish at home since 1995 as Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc both retired.

“On a difficult day like this, there was one ray of sunshine thanks to the guys in the Ferrari Driver Academy who are racing in Formula 2, with Mick Schumacher taking his first win of the season,” Mekies said after qualifying.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...