Robert Shwartzman experienced a 2020 Formula 1 car for the first time on Tuesday, with the Russian completing a day-high one hundred and twenty-nine laps of the Yas Marina Circuit for Scuderia Ferrari.
The SMP Racing-backed twenty-one-year-old admitted driving for Ferrari was a ‘dream come true’, even though he admitted freely that he was exhausted come the end of the busy day in Abu Dhabi.
Shwartzman, who has already been confirmed to remain in FIA Formula 2 in 2021 with Prema Racing, said every lap felt ‘really cool’ as he found his feet in a 2020 car after earlier in the year testing a 2018 SF71H at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track.
“I feel very good, awesome, it’s a dream come true!” said Shwartzman. “You know when you are a little kid and you are watching Ferrari winning, and you always dreamed about ‘when is that day going to come when I am going to sit in it and drive this car?’ It happened today and it was very nice.
“I feel like this is just the beginning, this is the point when you understand you just started your job and you need to work hard and improve, so I am happy I finally reached that point where I made that step for my future. It’s very nice.
“It wasn’t the easiest day and I am quite exhausted now because I had a lot of new things to deal with, a lot of information and a lot of running! The back of my neck is a bit sore, from the heavy braking, but apart from that, I am feeling really well.
“Steering wise, driving this car is easier than the F2 cars, so no problems there. I did the most laps today and each one of them felt really cool.”
“We gathered a lot of data to analyse which will be useful for next season” – Antonio Fuoco
Shwartzman was joined on track by Ferrari development and simulator driver Antonio Fuoco, with the Italian having his fourth running for the team but his first since early 2019.
Fuoco, now a driver coach within the Ferrari Driver Academy, was also busy, completing one hundred and twenty-six laps of the Yas Marina circuit as he bid to compare the SF1000 to how it felt in the simulator.
“This was a very good day and we managed to get through our programme, completing 126 laps, which is more than two race distances,” said Fuoco. “Along with the team, we gathered a lot of data to analyse which will be useful for next season.
“As a driver that specialises in working in the simulator, it is extremely useful for me to be able to get in the real car from time to time to reacquaint myself with what it feels like being in the cockpit. On top of that, we were able to work specifically on verifying the correlation between our tools in Maranello and the SF1000 on track.
“Finally, I should say that every time I get offered the chance to jump in a Ferrari, I get rather excited. As an Italian, I’m very proud to be part of this family for the past eight years and I thank the team for having chosen me to drive again this time.”