Ferrari academy trio "not in a shootout" for F1 drive
Ferrari sporting and driver academy director Laurent Mekies claims Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman are not involved in a "shootout" for 2021 Formula 1 drives.
The academy trio are all competing in F2 this year, with Schumacher and Ilott at the top of the standings in first and second respectively, while Shwartzman is fifth.
All three are to make upcoming FP1 appearances, with Schumacher and Ilott up first at the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring on October 9 with Alfa Romeo and Haas respectively, while Shwartzman will drive for Alfa Romeo at the Abu Dhabi GP.
The likelihood of all three finding F1 seats for 2021 is low but Mekies says Ferrari is not using the upcoming F1 outings almost as a duel.
“We are not in a shootout mood," he said. "We are in a mood where let's find out how they continue building up.
"Because at the end of the day, and we have seen it with Charles [Leclerc], we have seen it with many other drivers, many other exceptional drivers before him, it’s about developing, and the development certainly doesn’t stop when you are at the door of Formula 1.
“It’s only the second chapter which will also involve development, so we need to make sure that we support them in that development.
"It is with that in mind that we build our programmes, and it is with that in mind that we are planning the next few weeks for them to make sure that we put them in the right atmosphere for themselves.”
Given all the on-track struggles of Ferrari this year, Mekies insists the team is enjoying what is proving to be a welcome dilemma as it highlights the talent that is coming through the ranks.
“It’s no headache," added Mekies. "It’s a good problem to have and that’s the sort of thing we want to deal with.
“The guys are doing a very good job. Mick and Callum have progressed significantly from last year and they are solid leaders of the championship.
“Robert, in his first year, is pretty much playing with these guys straight away, so we are very happy with the performance of the three of them."
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