With Robert Kubica racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN have called up British racer Callum Ilott to be their official reserve driver for this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.
Ilott was part of Alfa Romeo’s reserve driver rota in 2021 but failed to gain a FIA Formula 1 World Championship race seat for 2022, with the Briton having switched his attentions to racing in the NTT IndyCar Series with Juncos Hollinger Racing.
Frédéric Vasseur, the Team Principal at Alfa Romeo, says it was an easy decision to welcome Ilott back into the team for this weekend’s race in Miami having been impressed by his performances both in and out of the car in 2021, even though he does not know the 2022 car at all.
“Callum is part of the team and he was with us last year,” Vasseur said to Motorsport.com. “He knows perfectly the team. The car not, for sure, but he knows the team. And we are all close to him. He did a good job with us in the past.
“He’s here race-by-race. He has his own commitments, and I don’t want to disturb him. But the fact that he was here in the U.S. it also made sense for him.
“We’ll see in the future, but if sometimes Robert is not available, it absolutely makes sense to go with Callum. We don’t need to have a contract – he’s part of the family.”
Ilott says it was an easy decision to accept Alfa Romeo’s call to come to Miami as their reserve driver, and he will be using IndyCar’s week off to focus on something he was not expecting to do during 2022.
“I wanted to come down here anyway,” Ilott said, also to Motorsport.com. “They called me two weeks ago, so it worked out quite well to be able to help out and be here.
“The last time I drove this car in the sim was probably in the early stages of development. A lot of the systems are very similar to previous years, but obviously the fundamentals are very different.
“It’s just nice to be back and see some people I haven’t seen for many months. I was in this environment for a while, in F3 or F2, and I know a lot of people here.
“So to come back and enjoy some good times with people and be able to kind of be properly involved is great. It’s a bit very refreshing.”