Ferrari’s official test driver Robert Shwartzman will participate in a team practice session with Ferrari for the first time since the new rules were implemented.

Robert Shwartzman will participate in the opening Formula 1 practice session of the US Grand Prix later this year, marking the first time Ferrari has fielded a rookie during a race weekend since the rules encouraging teams to run young drivers were established.

After being involved with Ferrari for a number of years, Shwartzman advanced to the position of test driver for 2022.

Shwartzman won the Formula 3 championship in 2019 and placed second to Oscar Piastri, who was headed to McLaren, in the Formula 2 championship the following year.

Younger drivers have been offered the chance to run in practice sessions by Formula 1 teams since 2004 in order to gain experience before making their full-race debuts. In order to accommodate a junior driver, each Formula 1 driver must forfeit one practice session from 2022 through 2023, and Ferrari has not yet met its obligation for this season.

This was updated in 2022 to mandate that all teams now run a junior driver during the two open practice sessions this year, as a ‘junior driver’ is defined as a driver having “two or less Grands Prix under their belt.”

Shwartzman, who previously competed in junior divisions as a Russian, is about to enter the practice session under an Israeli license because that is where he was born.

Ferrari has relied on other teams over the years to serve as its “proving grounds” for rookie drivers as part of its Young Driver Program.

As part of Ferrari’s ambitions to run three of its rookies in their Young Driver Academy, Shwartzman was scheduled to participate in an official Free Practice session with Haas at the conclusion of the 2020 season in Abu Dhabi.

However, Shwartzman’s slot was taken by Mick Schumacher when Callum Illott and Shwartzman’s runs in the previous Eifel Grand Prix were postponed due to poor visibility.

Shwartzman’s participation also puts an end to a 46-year statistical anomaly for the team, as this will be the first weekend in which they have run a third driver since the 1976 Italian Grand Prix.

This happened after Carlos Reutemann’s potentially fatal crash at the Nurburgring six weeks before, during the weekend of Niki Lauda’s comeback. Reutemann competed with Lauda and Clay Regazzoni since F1 at the time permitted three-car entries.

Ferrari is still working out which driver will miss the practice session.

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