Three Ferrari youngsters have taken part in a one-day test of a 2018 F1 car at the squad’s Fiorano test track.
Ferrari Driver Academy members Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott, and Robert Shwartzman all shared time at the wheel of the SF17H ahead of planned Friday practice outings at grand prix weekends.
Both Schumacher and Ilott will feature in opening practice next weekend for Alfa Romeo and Haas respectively, while Shwartzman will have his chance in Abu Dhabi at the end of the year.
“A few weeks ago in Mugello, I was able to drive an F2004, an amazing car, but quite old fashioned now,” explained Schumacher, referencing his demonstration outing at the Tuscan Grand Prix at the wheel of his father’s 2004 championship winner.
“Getting behind the wheel of a 2018 hybrid car allowed me to understand how important the electronics are for the Power Unit and how much progress Formula 1 has made in terms of aerodynamics.
“I can’t wait to jump into the cockpit in Germany and it will be nice to take part in a practice session for the first time in front of my home crowd.
“In the team, there are some mechanics who worked with my father and that will make the day even more special.”
Ilott added: “I’d already been able to drive a Formula 1 car last year, but today I was able to get to grips with the car with just ten days to go to my debut on a grand prix weekend.
“It was very useful and I thank Ferrari for giving me this opportunity.
“What struck me about the SF71H was its aero efficiency, which means you have grip levels you just don’t find in other categories.
“Then there’s the extreme power from the engine and instant braking.”
For Shwartzman, who has won three Formula 2 races this year, it was his first experience of Formula 1 machinery.
“I have dreamed of the day when I would drive a Formula 1 car for the first time ever since I was a little kid and finally today was the day,” said the Russian.
“Driving this car was fantastic and great fun.
“The power is what strikes you most: when you accelerate the horsepower never seems to stop.
“The brakes are equally impressive: the car stops when it feels as though it’s too late to make the corner.”
Overseeing the day was Marco Matassa, Head of the Ferrari Driver Academy Technical Department.
“I’m happy with the way Mick, Callum and Robert quickly got used to the SF71H,” he said.
“For two of them this wasn’t their first time in a Formula 1 car, but even so it’s not easy to switch from the driving style demanded from a Formula 2 car to one best suited to Formula 1.
“The car has much more power, a significantly more sophisticated braking system and power steering that requires sensitivity and precision to use properly.
“However, they were all quick and immediately began running at a good pace.
“I believe the laps they did today will be very useful when Mick and Callum run on Friday at the Nürburgring.”