2020 vice-champion Callum Ilott’s Formula 1 involvement has been increased for the current campaign, following the announcement that Alfa Romeo have snapped up the Ferrari junior as an official second reserve, a deal that includes multiple FP1 stints.

Ilott – who is set to share reserve duties with Robert Kubica - will work with current drivers Antonio Giovinazzi, a former GP2 vice-champion, and the experienced Kimi Räikkönen, the 2007 F1 World Champion.

Crucially, the deal will include multiple Free Practice 1 sessions this season, with the Italian team confirming that Ilott will run for them as early as this weekend in Portugal.

“I am really happy to be joining the team for this season and I’d like to thank Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and the Ferrari Driver Academy for the trust they have put in me,” said Ilott.

“The two sessions I had with the team in the last two years have been extremely useful in getting me accustomed to the way a Formula 1 team works and I am confident I can hit the ground running in my new role as one of the reserve drivers at Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN. I can’t wait to be in the car and help the team continue its progress.”

Ilott was the 2020 F2 vice-champion with UNI-Virtuosi finishing 14 points off Schumacher
Ilott was the 2020 F2 vice-champion with UNI-Virtuosi, finishing 14 points off Schumacher

The British driver pushed 2020 champion Mick Schumacher all the way in the title fight last season with UNI-Virtuosi, missing out by just 14 points after an enthralling season closer in Bahrain.

Ilott is already an official test and reserve driver for Ferrari, and is currently competing in the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup with Iron Lynx.

Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur added: “I am delighted to welcome Callum to our team: his journey through the junior series has been an impressive one and he is without doubt one of the most talented young drivers coming through the ranks.

“He has worked with us before, each time leaving a lasting impression thanks to his work ethic and good feedback, and I have no doubt he will be a very positive addition to Robert Kubica, who will be unavailable on various occasions due to his other racing programmes.

“Callum will have a busy programme and we can’t wait to see him on track again this weekend.”