2023 Dutch GP: Ferrari to replace Carlos Sainz

Both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc will be out of contract at Ferrari at the end of 2024.

In a move in line with Formula 1’s regulations, Ferrari’s test driver Robert Shwartzman is set to take the wheel in the Friday practice session (FP1) for the Dutch Grand Prix, stepping in for regular driver Carlos Sainz. 

This strategic decision is in accordance with the requirement for teams to field a rookie driver in at least two FP1 sessions throughout the season.

Having been an integral part of the Ferrari Driver Academy for an extended period, Robert Shwartzman was appointed as a testing and development driver for the Scuderia at the onset of 2022. 

The 23-year-old racer, who secured a commendable second place in the FIA Formula Championship in 2022, previously participated in FP1 outings with Ferrari during the previous season. 

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Notably, he was involved in FP1 sessions in Austin and Abu Dhabi, fulfilling the team’s obligations to introduce young drivers.

Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur elaborated on Shwartzman’s upcoming opportunities, stating, “Robert will do Zandvoort in Carlos’ car, and he will do another one – probably Abu Dhabi – in the Charles’ [Leclerc] car.”

While Formula 1 teams are mandated to include rookie drivers in FP1 sessions as part of the sport’s young driver rule, this season has yet to witness a rookie participating in this capacity. 

However, several rookies, including Oscar Piastri (McLaren), Logan Sargeant (Williams), and Nyck de Vries (AlphaTauri), were classified as rookies at the beginning of the season, implying that their respective teams need to fulfil only one more FP1 slot with a young driver by the end of the year.

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Acknowledging the intricacies of scheduling rookie drivers for practice sessions, Vasseur acknowledged the challenges presented by various logistical considerations associated with different race venues. 

He remarked, “I know that it’s not an easy situation, but Carlos was very direct… 

“It’s not so easy to decide because for sure you can’t do it in Singapore, in Japan, in Las Vegas, and also you have some sprint events in Austin, Qatar and so that you can do it. 

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“Then you have the races with the tyre allocation a bit different. 

“It’s also tricky to do it. 

“But it means that at the end of the day you don’t have so many options.”