OPINION: Why Callum Ilott Deserves an F1 Seat at Alfa Romeo?

Published 07/29/2021, 6:32 AM EDT
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – JULY 19: 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 on July 19, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Kimi Raikkonen, the oldest F1 driver on the current grid, has steadily been losing his form this season, forcing Alfa Romeo to start hunting for other options. As things stand, the Finn could call it a day by the end of this season, leaving a vacant seat for the take at the Italian outfit.

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This led to one of the biggest names popping up on Alfa Romeo’s radar – Valtteri Bottas. The Mercedes driver will possibly be left without a seat, with the team rumored to replace the Finn with George Russell.

However, amidst his desperate attempt at securing a drive next season, he is facing stern competition from the 2020 F2 season’s runner-up, Callum Ilott. Other drivers in the pool include Nico Hulkenberg and Haas driver, Mick Schumacher.

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This leads to the next and the most critical question – Who deserves the second Alfa Romeo seat?

Well, despite incredibly experienced drivers ready to steady the ship at Alfa Romeo, we’d say Callum Ilott will be the best of all.

The impressive 2020 F2 season for Ilott

Ilott has undeniably been one of the rising stars of the Ferrari Driver Academy. Possessing an impressive track history in hand, there is hardly any opposing the fact that Ilott is en route to becoming a future Ferrari driver. But, before that, let’s take a look at how Ilott has fared in other racing series.

The most certain of all is the Formula 2 world championship. Ilott joined the series in 2017, where he competed in just two rounds, before returning to the 2019 season as a full-time driver. He drove quite well for a novice and signed off his debut season in P11, having secured three poles and two podiums.

Then arrived his astonishing performance-induced 2020 F2 season. The Briton was thoroughly the favorite to win the championship, until three-fourth of the season, before Mick breezed past.

However, Ilott never gave up and took the fight to the very last race of the season, as a measly 14 points separated the duo in the end. Nevertheless, Ilott secured a total of six podium finishes over that season, which also includes three wins. He also managed to start 6 races on pole.

Invitation from Alfa Romeo and Ferrari

In 2020, Ilott was working as a test driver for both Alfa Romeo and Haas throughout the season, along with his fierce battle in F2, which fell short.

Hence, following the 2020 season, expectations were quite high that Ilott would continue competing in F2 to get his much-needed redemption by securing the 2021 title. However, much to everyone’s surprise, Ilott rather revealed he wouldn’t part of the F2 grid over the follow-up season.

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Instead, the Briton found himself getting promoted to Alfa Romeo’s reserve driver. What’s more, the 22-year-old also joined Ferrari as their test driver.

Hence, he has virtually been behind the wheels of the Alfa Romeo for half-year now. Also, he received some action on the track this season by taking part in FP1 sessions in Portugal and Austria. And this bolsters the fact that he could carry a much better level of understanding of the car.

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Overall, it looks like Ilott gave up F2 in a bid to shed his entire focus on making his career debut in F1. So, will his efforts pay off next season? Or will Bottas sabotage the Briton’s hopes?

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Rohit Kumar

1161 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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