Robert Shwartzman is a “beast” in race trim and must be considered a favourite for the 2021 Formula 2 title, according to the head of Ferrari’s Driver Academy.
Shwartzman, the 2019 Formula 3 champion, is part of Ferrari’s young driver scheme, and finished fourth in the 2020 Formula 2 standings.
He won four races in his rookie campaign – more than any other driver on the grid – and sampled Formula 1 machinery with Ferrari post-season in Abu Dhabi.
Shwartzman will remain in Formula 2 in 2021 with Prema and will be the highest-placed driver from the 2020 championship to stay on.
“We didn’t learn anything about Shwartzman that we didn’t know already,” said FDA chief Marco Matassa.
“He’s a beast in the races. He proved it last year in Formula 3, winning the title in his rookie season and confirmed it now in Formula 2.
“The start of his season was almost perfect. Then a few too many scoreless races put him out of contention for the title but he is still the driver with the most wins on four.
“He stays in F2 next year with Prema because he should do another year in the category and I expect him to be a frontrunner for the 2021 title.”
Ferrari-backed youngsters fought for the Formula 2 title, with Mick Schumacher beating Callum Ilott in the tense finale, and Matassa went on to assess the pair’s season.
“We knew we had really good chances in Formula 2 and our drivers did a really good job, especially Mick, Callum and Robert,” he said.
“Schumacher realised that in a championship without a clear favourite, consistency was the key. He displayed an impressive psychological growth.
“He made minimal mistakes and he worked out in which races he should attack and take risks and in which it was better to settle for fewer points and drive more cautiously.
“Especially in the second half of the season, this began to pay off because while his rivals ran into trouble, he was racking up the points.
“As things panned out, the season reminded me of 2018 when Mick won the European Formula 3 championship with a cautious start followed by a rush of wins.
“In the first few races this year he was not perfect, but from the mid-season he never put a foot wrong and he really got the hang of the starts.
“Callum did a very good job, making a lot of progress compared to 2019 and he proved to be an ace over a qualifying lap, notching up no fewer than five poles.
“He paid a high price for the few bad races he had, but he showed great character by keeping the title fight alive right down to the very last race of the season.”
Schumacher will race in Formula 1 for Haas in 2021 while Ilott will remain associated with Ferrari as its test driver.