Ferrari Reserve Driver Callum Ilott Set for F1 Free Practice Outings in 2021

Published 02/06/2021, 6:45 AM EST
NUERBURG, GERMANY – Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto walks in the Paddock before final practice ahead of the F1 Eifel Grand Prix at Nuerburgring in Nuerburg, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


The runner-up of the 2020 F2 world championship season, Callum Ilott, in recent times, has been showing up in the red suit a lot more than usual. His latest appearance being at the Ferrari’s private testing, which took place in Fiorano.

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Does that mean he’s inching towards a potential full-time driver in F1 at Ferrari or their customer teams?

Well, it certainly looks like he could be prepping himself up for a drive at Alfa Romeo soon, considering they possess an aging Kimi Raikkonen and an under-pressure Antonio Giovinazzi.

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Ferrari’s team principal, Mattia Binotto, revealed that Ilott will occasionally be joining Ferrari’s customer teams for Friday practice sessions over the upcoming F1 season. Furthermore, he will also be spending some vital time in the Ferrari’s simulator.

Binotto’s view on Ilott’s future in Ferrari

According to Motorsport, the Ferrari boss opened up about Ferrari‘s plans for the rising talent, Callum Ilott. “Mick’s Formula 1 experience starts in Haas. But we have young drivers competing in F2 like Robert Shwartzman, for example,” he said.

We also have Callum Ilott. He will be our test driver. He will drive in the simulator and attend Friday practice [with client teams].”

Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari is pushed back into the garage during day two of F1 End of Season Testing at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by James Bearne/Getty Images)

Ilott had a brilliant F2 season, with Mick Schumacher being his only hindrance. However, despite the disadvantage in points to the leader, he kept pressurizing the German. Consequently, their fight for the title went down to the wire, with just 14 points separating the two in the end.

However, in a sudden turn of events, the Briton announced that he wouldn’t be joining the 2021 F2 grid. Hence, considering the vacancy at that point in F1, rumors blew up that Ilott will be making his F1 debut for the 2021 season.

But eventually, the driver clarified that he won’t be racing in F2 or F1. He is yet to reveal where he would end up as a full-time driver in 2021.

When is Ilott likely to join the F1 grid?

Prior to this season, Ilott had Alfa Romeo and Haas as options for the forthcoming F1 season. Now that the latter chose to go with an all-rookie line-up, Ilott’s chances of joining Haas is pretty bleak.

Hence, as of now, Ilott’s only possible team would be Alfa Romeo. Kimi Raikkonen recently signed a one-year contract with the team, lasting until the end of 2021. Considering he’s already 41 years old, he might retire after the 2021 season.

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Mick Schumacher of Germany and Prema Racing speaks with Callum Illot of Great Britain and UNI-Virtuosi Racing after a press conference following the sprint race for the Formula 2 Championship at Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

This could be the reason why Ferrari have been eyeing Ilott since the end of the 2020 F1 season. The Briton joined Ferrari as a test driver, and hence, he will spend crucial time with the team in the paddock through the 2021 season.

Overall, considering the recent developments surrounding Ilott, will the former F2 driver join the F1 grid as early as the 2022 season? Well, only time will tell.

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DIVE DEEPER

Formula 2 Runner-up Callum Ilott Joins Ferrari F1 as Test Driver

6 months ago

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Rohit Kumar

762 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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