Ferrari reveal when Russian driver will make Formula 1 debut with the Scuderia

Six teams are yet to run a development driver in a practice session this season.

Ferrari sporting director, Laurent Mekies, has revealed that the Scuderia are waiting for the right moment to run a development driver in their car.

As part of the new regulations this season, each team is required to run a rookie or development driver in at least two practice sessions over the course of the year.

Ferrari, McLaren AlphaTauri, Alpine, Aston Martin and Haas are yet to fulfil their first session, and Ferrari have former Formula 2 driver Robert Shwartzman waiting on the side lines.

Over the course of the next few months, good opportunities to put the Russian in the car will arrive in Spa, Monza, Mexico and Abu Dhabi.

READ: ‘What was the reason then?’ Charles Leclerc calls out Ferrari for bizarre decision

However, at more technical and challenging circuits such as Singapore and Japan, it would be more prudent to give Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz as much run time as possible. 

“We haven’t exactly decided on which events it’s going to be,” explained Mekies.

“You are right in saying that you would not pick races like Singapore or races where the race drivers need more running, [but] I don’t think we have an issue in doing it during one of the weekends where we have Pirelli testing.”

With Fernando Alonso leaving Alpine at the end of this season, it is expected that Oscar Piastri will replace him next year, and the current F2 champion is serving as the team’s reserve driver.

Article continues below

There are reportedly contractual snags with McLaren that could even see him swap with compatriot Daniel Ricciardo in the latest round of silly season bingo but, for now, the young Australian is set for an outing in the next few rounds.

“We’ll see Oscar in our car, either in Spa or Monza for the first time,” said sporting director Alan Permane.

Alonso will join Aston Martin next year, seemingly taking a step down from the top of the midfield.

Team principal, Otmar Szafnauer, revealed that the Spaniard had informed him that he had not signed with anyone else during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.

Therefore, the Romanian-American’s first inclination that the double world champion had joined Aston Martin was when he saw the British side’s press release.

“Obviously when we’re in the paddock, there’s all sorts of rumours, and I had heard rumours that Aston were interested [but] it was the first confirmation I had,” said Szafnauer.

“Once you hear that they’re interested, there’s probably discussions that took place.

READ: Young Australian driver tipped to join McLaren, not Alpine

“I was confident that, even with the discussions, and there’s nothing wrong with exploring, that we were very close [to a new deal].”

AlphaTauri are set to run F2 driver and Red Bull junior Liam Lawson in Belgium after the summer, while Williams have confirmed that their second obligatory development run will take place in Texas with Logan Sargeant.