Mattia Binotto says Scuderia Ferrari cannot afford to thrust a rookie into one of their cars, so using the team’s customer outfits to run their young drivers is essential to help them out.
Ferrari supply their power units to both Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and Haas F1 Team, with both teams fielding a driver who has come through the ranks at Maranello.
Antonio Giovinazzi was signed as test driver by Ferrari before being placed with Alfa Romeo ahead of the 2019 season, while Mick Schumacher will join Formula 1 next year having been a part of the fabled Ferrari Driver Academy for a number of years. Alfa Romeo also gave Charles Leclerc his debut before he was brought into replace Kimi Räikkönen at Ferrari in 2019.
Binotto, the Team Principal of Ferrari, says pushing a young driver directly into one of the seats at Ferrari would put too much responsibility on the driver, so to use a customer team to give them prior experience is essential.
“I think we cannot afford to take a Formula 2 driver and put him directly in the cockpit of one of the red cars,” Binotto is quoted as saying by PlanetF1.com on Motorsport.com’s Russian language site. “The responsibility would be too great and in the absence of the necessary experience, it is difficult to expect strong results from a young driver.
“In this case, the presence of client teams seriously helps us out. With their help, we can provide our drivers with the opportunity to master F1 and gain experience. Mick’s place at Haas next year is a great opportunity to showcase the full benefits of our partnership.
“It is important to understand that our junior programme should educate Formula 1 drivers, and drivers who could one day compete for Ferrari. This means the guys must be 100% ready to perform at the highest level.”
Binotto also says he expects Schumacher to improve his driving through his rookie campaign in Formula 1 before stepping up his game in his second year in the sport, much like he has done in the past in winning both the FIA European Formula 3 Championship and FIA Formula 2 titles in his sophomore seasons in the categories.
“I think it will be very difficult for him at the start,” said Binotto. “If I look at his past experience in both F2 and F3, normally he is delivering his best in the second season and not the first.
“I think Mick, the way he has developed himself, is learning a lot in the first season and becomes very strong in the second half of the second season. That’s why I think two seasons will be important for him. But already in the second, I’m expecting to see progress compared to the first one.”