Racer raised in Putins home city to drive Ferrari after switching nationality

It has been confirmed that Russian-raised driver Robert Shwartzman will take part in an F1 practice session for Ferrari later this season.

Shwartzman, who competed under the Russian flag prior to the country’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, has switched his allegiance to Israel, the country of his birth. The 22-year-old moved to Russia in his youth and was brought up in Saint Petersburg, the home city of tyrant Vladimir Putin.

Shortly after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, stopped short of a complete ban on Russian and Belarusian drivers but said they must compete under another licence or neutral flag. The Russian Grand Prix was also scrapped.

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Motorsport UK, the governing body for motorsport in the UK, went a step further, banning Russian and Belarusian athletes completely from competing in the country.

As a result, Russian Formula 3 driver Alex Smolyar was barred from racing at the British Grand Prix meeting. He has been competing under a neutral flag this season.

Shwartzman, part of Ferrari’s junior driver programme, will deputise for Charles Leclerc or Carlos Sainz in a practice session ahead of the US Grand Prix at Austin next month, plus another session before the end of the season.

Do you think Shwartzman should be allowed to drive in F1? Have your say in the comments section below.

"For us, it's Robert Shwartzman that will do our two FP1s," said Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies last month. "We haven't exactly decided on which events it's going to be.

"You would not pick races like Singapore or races where the race drivers need more running. I don't think we have an issue in doing it during one of the weekends where we have Pirelli testing."

Another young driver will get a run-out at Austin when American Formula 2 star Logan Sargent takes over one of the Williams cars for a practice session.


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