Mattia Binotto has clarified that its Ferrari test driver Robert Shwartzman will use Israel’s flag to compete in any session in F1 2022.
Shwartzman is a driver with an impressive track record, runner up in Formula 2 in 2021 and a Formula 3 title win in 2019. This year, he is not racing in any series but is reserve driver in Ferrari academy – although he hasn’t driven the car thus far.
The situation is also a bit political. We have seen that already in a well documented scenario with Nikita Mazepin and him being ousted at Haas due to the turmoil in Ukraine for the last few months and the sanctions put on Russian drivers as a result.
Several Russian drivers have already signed documents where they are using license of different countries to enter in the competition. It is the same with Shwartzman, who Ferrari team boss Binotto says will compete under the license of Israel.
Shwartzman was born in Israel and brought up in St Petersburg and so he has taken up the option to enter under the Israeli flag. As per the new rule, teams have to run rookies in two FP1 sessions and the Russian driver is in line to not only run with Ferrari but also Haas.
“Robert is born in Israel,” said Binotto. “He’s got an Israeli passport. In terms of licence, it’s not a Russian one. And he was in agreement as well with Russian companies that somehow he interrupted his, let me say, any agreement he got with those companies”.
“So at the moment he is still our test driver and he will remain as that. And if we will have in the future any opportunities to let him drive, we will probably let him drive,” summed up Binotto. It is, if anything a complex and sad scenario with sport and politics mixing.
Shwartzman had deals with Russian sponsors but they are now not involved and they understand their situation. It’s also the second time an Israeli license holder will grace F1 as Roy Nissany did so in 2019 at Williams.
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