Ferrari confirms Shwartzman to replace Sainz in Zandvoort practice

Ferrari confirms Shwartzman to replace Sainz in Zandvoort practice

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz will be replaced by the team’s reserve driver Robert Shwartzman in Friday’s first practice session at Zandvoort.

Ferrari reserve and test driver Robert Shwartzman will replace Carlos Sainz in the first free practice session of the Dutch Grand Prix, according to team principal Fred Vasseur.

This comes according to new regulations that went into effect for the 2022 season which states: a driver who hasn’t participated in more than two grand prix must receive two free practice sessions from a Formula 1 team each season.

The rule was implemented to improve the chances of academy and reserve drivers getting track experience in F1 cars. Teams typically won’t permit this switchover early in the season because practice sessions are viewed as more beneficial when the drivers are still getting acquainted with Formula 1 machinery.

The Russian-Israeli driver, who had prior outings with the Maranello team in Austin and Abu Dhabi last year, will participate in the first of two rookie sessions in 2023.

Despite the fact that Oscar Piastri, Logan Sargeant, and Nyck de Vries’ FP1 appearances at the season-opening race in Bahrain also counted, Shwartzman’s run will be the first by any reserve or non-race driver this year.

As previously said, considering sprint weekends, F2 clashing schedule with F1, street events, and specific tyre allocations, setting up rookie runs is more challenging compared to previous years for teams this season.

Given that Shwartzman is not yet an F2 racer, Ferrari has more leeway with him than some teams do with their rookies.

After consulting with Sainz, the decision over which FP1 session to forego was settled, according to team boss Fred Vasseur.

“Robert will do Zandvoort in Carlos’ car, and he’ll do another one, probably Abu Dhabi, in Charles’ car,” said Vasseur. “It was the choice of the driver, I gave them the choice to do it where they want to do it.

“I know that it’s not an easy situation. But Carlos was ok with the idea.

“It’s not so easy to decide because for sure you can’t do it in Singapore, in Japan, in Las Vegas. Also, you have some sprint events in Austin, Qatar, so that you can’t do it.

“Then you have the races with the tyre allocation a bit different, it’s also so tricky to do it. It means that at the end of the day, you don’t have so many options.”

Vasseur stated that the team had decided to keep running with Shwartzman over giving FP1 runs to members of the Ferrari Driver Academy Oliver Bearman and Arthur Leclerc, who are currently ranked sixth and fourteenth in the F2 championship standings, respectively.

“They have to be focused on the F2 championship,” he added. “And we will try to give them opportunities of testing either on the 2021 car or something else before the end of the season.

“But I want to push them to stay focussed on the F2 championship.”

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