Alesi, Armstrong complete their first F1 test; Shwartzman his second at Fiorano
The first day saw two staying academy drivers running alongside one to leave.
Giuliano Alesi and Marcus Armstrong completed their first run in a F1 car with Ferrari, as Robert Shwartzman returned for his second chance, while a new Netflix move related to the sport is reported.
Ferrari kick-started their five-day long test programme at Fiorano, as academy drivers Alesi, Armstrong and Shwartzman had their chance from morning until the evening. The former two got their first-ever drive in a F1 car, while the latter returned to action.
Alesi was first up in the morning, using the #28 - same as his father Jean did - as the familiar surname returned on the Ferrari car for the first time since 1995. The Frenchman was followed by Armstrong in the afternoon, who used the #9 for his run.
Both completed their runs without any problems, as Shwartzman then took over the 2018 Ferrari car, SF17H, using the #35. This was the Russian's second time in the car after his first run last year alongside Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott.
With COVID-19 restrictions still on, Ferrari planned out a pre-season run for its drivers at Fiorano. The above three are getting track time ahead of their F2 season, where Armstrong and Shwartzman have a seat secured, while Alesi has bid farewell to the programme.
It was speculated that Alesi will not be part of the Ferrari academy 2021, which was confirmed after his first-ever F1 run. The Frenchman noted about his departure, adding about his new adventure in Asia - possibly being the Super Lights series in Japan.
Testing will continue on Tuesday with Charles Leclerc in the cockpit. The Monegasque is already at Maranello, which means that he tested negative for COVID-19 and is in good shape to drive the F1 car for the first time since Abu Dhabi.
“I’d like to thank Ferrari and the FDA for this fantastic opportunity today," said Alesi. "To be able to get in the cockpit of the SF71H was incredibly exciting as was driving the car on track with my father watching and sporting the same race number he used.
"In terms of handling, the car is not too difficult to drive, but the power was surprising and never seems to end. The immediacy and efficiency of the braking is also impressive. This test was the best way possible for me to bid farewell to Ferrari. Now a new adventure awaits me in Asia and I can’t wait for it to start."
At the same time, Armstrong added: "Obviously this was a special day in my life and it went exactly as I would have expected. That didn’t mean I enjoyed it any the less! Being at the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the first time is always something magical and when the car is a Ferrari, then it’s really unforgettable.
"People always say it’s the braking that is the most impressive aspect and that was the case, but also the aerodynamic downforce, the speed in the corners, the steering, the power and the perfect gear changes are all on a different planet compared to the other racing categories. I’d like to thank Ferrari and the FDA for making this day possible and I can’t wait to jump back in a Formula 1 car again in the future."
And finally, Shwartzman stated: “Driving a Ferrari Formula 1 car is always a privilege and I must admit that I was beginning to miss that feeling: today, along with the team, we worked on a programme aimed at improving my ability to provide feedback to the engineers and I hope I did a good job of doing what I was asked.
"As for myself, this was the best possible way to get back to driving in the new year. I soon felt comfortable in the car and with the team as it’s not even been a month since the last time and the feeling was good for all the laps I did. Now it’s time for me to focus on the Formula 2 championship with the Prema team, but I hope that I’ll get another opportunity to sit in a Ferrari again as soon as possible."
Three F1 drivers and four academy drivers will get their chance to test.
[Image courtesy: Ferrari] [Note: This story was written on FormulaRapida.net]