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Formula 1

F2 runner-up Ilott gets Ferrari F1 test role

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott will be Ferrari’s Formula 1 test driver in 2021.

The Briton scored more poles than any other driver and won three races as he finished second to fellow Ferrari protege Mick Schumacher in F2 this season.

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Schumacher has signed a deal to race for Haas in F1 next year while two drivers Ilott finished ahead of in the standings – F2 rookie Yuki Tsunoda and Nikita Mazepin – will graduate to F1 as well.

Ilott announced ahead of the F2 season finale that he had missed out on an F1 seat next year but said he would “work harder and do what it takes to make sure it happens in 2022”.

Motor Racing Fia Formula 2 Championship Friday Sakhir, Bahrain

His route to that opportunity will be a season spent in Ferrari’s F1 operation as test driver.

It is unclear exactly what Ilott’s responsibility will be but he will likely conduct extensive simulator work given F1’s testing opportunities are heavily restricted.

Antonio Giovinazzi used a Ferrari behind-the-scenes role to get an F1 move with Alfa Romeo in 2019, a seat he retained for 2020 and will keep again for 2021.

That seat, which Ferrari has influence over, could be one Ilott eyes for 2022.

“I am very pleased to be joining Scuderia Ferrari as its test driver from next year,” said Ilott.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Eifel Grand Prix Qualifying Day Nurbugring, Germany

“I look forward to contributing to the work the team does on and off track, and to all of the new things I can learn by taking on this exciting new challenge.

“I will give my all to do a good job and gain as much experience as possible to continue making progress as a driver.

“I would like to thank the Ferrari Driver Academy and Scuderia Ferrari for this great opportunity and their support.

“It has been an honour to be part of their programme for the past three years and I am pleased to continue our journey together.”

Ilott has already picked up a reasonable amount of testing experience over the last 18 months.

He drove for Alfa Romeo in Spain in May 2019, and though he crashed on that outing with the team it ran him again in Tuesday’s young driver test in Abu Dhabi.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Abu Dhabi, Uae

Earlier this year Ilott tested a 2018 Ferrari in Italy, ahead of what should have been his grand prix weekend debut driving for Haas in FP1 at the Nurburgring – but Friday practice did not take place because of the weather conditions.

It is not clear if Ilott will dovetail his Ferrari programme with a racing role but he has previously hinted he will attend almost every grand prix in 2021.

He has all but confirmed he will not race in F2 again next year.

“Part of me would love to do it again,” he said in an interview with the F2 website last week.

Motor Racing Fia Formula 2 Championship Prize Giving Ceremony Sunday Sakhir, Bahrain

“But second is only one place lower and I only missed out by 14 points. I could always give reasons why, but I don’t want to give excuses. I feel like if you are in the top three or top two, you shouldn’t have to prove yourself again.

“You have got to strive for the top and that’s my new challenge. It is not going to be easy, but I have got time to do it.

“More than likely, I will be in the F1 paddock for almost all of the races, so if someone is ill or has an injury – which, touch wood, doesn’t happen – then I am sure that I would get a call at some stage, but I don’t wish that on anyone.”

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