Robert Shwartzman says he is excited by the prospect of running two free practice session with Scuderia Ferrari later this season, although where he runs is yet to be determined.
Despite Russian athletes being banned from competition following the countries invasion of Ukraine, Shwartzman will get the opportunities as he applied for an Israeli licence, thanks to being born in Tel Aviv and living in Israel for the first three years of his life.
And Shwartzman admits he was quick to make the application as he did not want to risk losing out on driving opportunities within the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
“I obviously always had an Israeli passport, and for this reason, when the situation between Russia and Ukraine worsened, I decided to apply for a license in Israel,” said Shwartzman to Motorsport.com.
“After all, I want to be a driver, reaching Formula 1 is my only goal and, waiting for the motorsport authorities to make the decisions that they then made, the need immediately arose in me to make sure I was available again if Ferrari needed to put me in the car.
“We reacted quickly to avoid missing any potential opportunities.”
Shwartzman, the 2019 FIA Formula 3 champion, says he is proud to have been chosen to run with Ferrari, and he will be looking get some kind of verification that the work he does behind the scenes in the simulator translates onto the track.
“I’m a bit excited about the idea,” Shwartzman said. “I still don’t know exactly at which events I will be on-track, but it will undoubtedly be a good moment.
“I am proud to be able to drive a Ferrari on a race weekend, and also very interested in verifying the correlation work done with the engineers in the simulator.
“We have spent so many hours improving the virtual car and bringing it as close to reality as possible. Now I can’t wait to see the results of this work first-hand.”
It won’t be Shwartzman’s first run in a Formula 1 car having run with both Ferrari and the Haas F1 Team in the post-season Young Drivers’ Test in Abu Dhabi last December, but he has not competed since ending his FIA Formula 2 campaign as runner-up in 2021.
The twenty-two-year-old still has his focus on making it onto the Formula 1 grid, but he knows he will need to look for a ‘plan b’ if this does not materialise.
“I’ll do the best I can to get a chance,” Shwartzman added. “Obviously I hope that the work I am doing this season will be of help to me.
“Honestly, I don’t have a real Plan B, the kind that if I don’t go to Formula 1, there will already be an alternative project. Sometimes I think about what I could do, but today, I’m totally focused on Formula 1.”