Ferrari test and Alfa Romeo reserve driver Callum Ilott confirmed that talks are taking place to remain in IndyCar for 2022.
The British racer finished as runner-up to Mick Schumacher in the 2020 Formula 2 Championship, but with no Formula 1 seat presenting itself, he became Ferrari’s test driver for the 2021 campaign, later adding an Alfa Romeo reserve role to his duties.
With Kimi Raikkonen testing positive for Covid and therefore unable to contest the Dutch and Italian GPs, a door opened at Alfa Romeo, but it was Robert Kubica who stood in for those two rounds, while Ilott went away on IndyCar duties for Juncos Hollinger Racing.
He debuted at the Grand Prix of Portland, and is also set to contest the final two rounds of the season.
Ilott did clarify though that he was not in the conversation to replace Raikkonen anyway.
Asked by Motorsport.com if Ferrari were supportive of this move, Ilott replied: “Good question… but at the end of the day, we spoke and it’s a great opportunity for me.
“Obviously recently there were some COVID issues with the Alfa Romeo team but not to get confused, I was never scheduled to be at those events anyway. I have these two weekends free and so unfortunately there was never an opportunity for me to drive in place of Kimi.
“So Ferrari weren’t against me doing this race. The only thing to discuss was for the next two races, and see what the best option was, and seems to me it was to be out here and to do those races [Laguna Seca and Long Beach].
“It took a little bit of negotiation to sort it out but I’m here and I’m going to enjoy it.”
A weekend of great learning. We did not manage to complete the race but we gained a lot of experience, and now we will concentrate on continuing to prepare for the next event! See you in Laguna Seca! pic.twitter.com/AXTtqcUxbH
— Juncos Hollinger Racing (@juncosracing) September 13, 2021
Ilott responded “not yet” when asked if Juncos-Hollinger have struck any deal with him for 2022, but the Briton is actively negotiating with the team.
The 22-year-old could yet be in the running for a race seat with Alfa Romeo for 2022, though does not appear to be a front runner.
“We’re in discussions, but for sure it’s of interest,” he said of his post-2021 future with Juncos-Hollinger.
“They’ve got 20-plus drivers who are interested at the moment! But I’m the one here and driving the car so it’s a good point to carry on from – but I need to see what I can do.”
Ilott is the latest Formula 2 driver to branch into IndyCar, following in the footsteps of Alpine junior Christian Lundgaard who impressed on debut with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
The Danish driver qualified P4, and Ilott says this naturally created “high expectations” for his own debut, but he definitely feels “there can be some good results” for himself and Juncos-Hollinger.