Ferrari Academy and FIA Formula 2 Championship racer, Callum Ilott faced disappointment earlier today as the weather at the Nürburgring prevented his debut in a Formula One session, where he was set to take the week of a Haas VF-20 ahead of the Eifel Grand Prix.
Ilott was set to join Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean for the practice sessions, with Grosjean vacating his seat in Free Practice One for Ilott, however the weather was unforgiving and the session was eventually cancelled. A mix of fog and rain hampered the session, and conditions meant it was unsafe for the medical helicopter to fly.
As time passed the session was eventually cancelled, meaning the 21-year-old, who is currently second in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, will have to wait until at least Abu Dhabi before he can make his debut in practice.
“Obviously it wasn’t the most ideal session from everyone’s point of view. Nevertheless, it’s been a great experience to come here and prepare as a driver would in Formula 1. From that side I’ve learned a lot, it certainly hasn’t been a wasted opportunity.” said Ilott. “I would have loved to have been able to go out and do some laps of course, but unfortunately the weather set against that.
“Hopefully I can get another opportunity before the end of the year, but if this is the only one then it’s been an experience. I have to take away from it all the positives I can – even with what’s happened, I’ll be better prepared for another opportunity.”
Haas F1 Team, Team Principal Guenther Steiner shared his disappointment for Callum, saying: “Obviously it was a less than ideal day. I’m disappointed for Callum (Ilott) that he didn’t get his planned FP1 outing. It’s just one of these things unfortunately, but he’ll remain with us throughout the weekend – so hopefully that will be a good experience for him.”
Free Practice Two fared no better, with Magnussen unable to start his second session of the day as the weather failed to improve. The pitlane remained closed for the duration of the session, again, due to the medical helicopter being unable to fly. After one hour, Free Practice Two was eventually cancelled.
Kevin Magnussen aired his frustration at the cancelling of the sessions, and for the fans who came out to watch the action, but were unlucky not to see anything.
“Of course, it’s not a disadvantage because nobody got to run, but still I was looking forward to getting on track.” said Magnussen. “I feel for the fans that were here in the grandstands today. They’ve been sitting out all day today in the rain and they’ve had nothing for it. Hopefully we can put on a great show for the rest of the weekend.”
Teammate Grosjean, shared Magnussen’s frustrations, adding: “We have a sport that is weather dependent and today the weather wasn’t kind to us. It’s a shame for the young driver that was set for his first FP1, it’s a shame for the fans that came today, and for us too as we love driving these cars. Obviously, conditions didn’t allow us to go out so I guess there’s a lot of work to be done tomorrow.”
It looks like the paddock will feel some respite from the rain tomorrow, with conditions set to be drier, but with only one practice session remaining before qualifying, it remains a challenge for Haas with limited running before competitive times are posted.
Steiner added: “What else can I say really – the weather, as expected, has cost us our Friday practice. It will make our Saturday a little more interesting. It might not rain tomorrow but it’s certainly not going to be warm. We’ll keep our heads down as usual and let’s see what we can extract from final practice and apply in qualifying.”