Russian Ferrari driver ‘very sad’ as F1 career looks unlikely

Robert Shwartzman took part in free practice for Ferrari in Austin.

Robert Shwartzman has done all he can to forge out a potential career in Formula 1, even changing his nationality to Israeli from Russian to enable him to race, after the FIA banned all drivers from racing under the Russian flag following the Ukraine invasion.

The Israeli took part in the young driver free practice session in Austin for Ferrari, putting on a reasonable show for the Scuderia, but with all 2023 race seats taken, subject to Logan Sargeant’s super licence points total following the F2 finale, it looks certain that Shwartzman will be on the side lines yet again next year.

The driver will be frustrated by this, following a similar path to Oscar Piastri up until now, finishing second behind the Australian in the 2021 F2 season before taking this year off, however Piastri will be racing with McLaren next season.

“Honestly it was a tough year,” he said when asked about his situation.

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“Unfortunately, I didn’t race, which for any racing driver is a big thing. What will happen, I don’t know yet, but it’s super hard and challenging to get into Formula 1.

“I always pushed and worked really hard, it didn’t matter what was going around with the dream or target to get to Formula 1.

“Oscar has to wait a year and it was a bit messy for him. I put myself in it as well, I pushed him hard, did hard work, and I know if I would have a chance, I’d show I’m capable.”

Shwartzman has said that he is now beginning to give up on his F1 dream, after having done everything he possibly can to be considered for a race seat, to no avail.

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The 23-year-old has also hinted at the influence of pay drivers on the grid, suggesting that some of the driver who have a seat instead of him have no necessary earned their chance on racing skill alone.

“Will it happen or not happen? At this stage I don’t know. I can guess maybe not,” he said.

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“That’s obviously very sad for me because it has been such a big work and I kept on pushing and believing and at the end still it doesn’t happen for various reasons.

“I mean, F1 is a bit weird to be honest these days, for me at least. I don’t really understand it, the line-up and the driver decisions teams do, I don’t get it from my side.

“I don’t want to put names, but for me unfortunately it doesn’t always go by the merit.”