Ferrari names four drivers in an expanded simulator line-up for 2019 F1 season
Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow has named four drivers who will undertake simulator work for the team during the 2019 F1 season.
With Daniil Kvyat moving to Toro Rosso in 2019 and Anotnio Giovinazzi racing for Alfa Romeo Racing, Ferrari were left with space to fill in their simulator line-up, who will assist the race team in the development of the car throughout the season.
The team has announced an expanded four-driver line-up which includes Pascal Wehrlein, Brendon Hartley, Antonio Fuoco and Davide Rigon. The name of Wehrlein was already doing rounds in the media in the last few weeks and has been confirmed now.
The German will dovetail his F1 work with FIA Formula E Championship commitment where he drives for Mahindra Racing. He comes from the Mercedes family which could benefit the Italian outfit as they chase the German manufacturer for the F1 title.
On the other hand, after being dropped by Red Bull, Hartley stays in F1 albeit in a non-driving role. The Kiwi's racing plans is still up in the air with rumours around a Porsche Formula E drive, but for now he will take up the simulator role.
Meanwhile, academy driver Fuoco was announced to remain part of the Ferrari family when the team revealed its 2019 junior line-up. The Italian was named as a consultant of the academy though and will now also be part of the F1 team.
Fuoco is a reserve driver of GEOX Dragon Formula E team as well. His racing plans for the 2019 season is yet to be confirmed but it seems like, he could race in sportscar for Ferrari, considering him maintaining his relation with the manufacturer.
The final name in the list is of Ferrari's official GT racer Rigon, who continues on in the role with the Italian manufacturer, where he has been driving the simulator since the 2014 season and helping the team with all his experience.
Team principal Mattia Binotto said: "Our team has taken on four undoubtedly talented drivers, who possess innate feeling, with a strong understanding of race cars and tracks. These are exactly the qualities required in the skilful role of driving in a simulator, one of the vital pieces of equipment in the Formula 1 of today."
The four drivers will be assisting Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc during the race weekends, which as Binotto said, has become a vital part. The confirmation news though comes as they prepare for the 2019 launch on February 15.
[Note: This story was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]