Bahrain brings lots of F2 learning for Sauber Junior Team rookie drivers


31 March 2019
It’s been a pretty steep learning curve for me but I feel there are lots of positives to build on.

“It’s been a pretty steep learning curve for me but I feel there are lots of positives to build on.”


Callum Ilott  

The Sauber Junior Team completed its maiden FIA Formula 2 Championship weekend with an encouraging feeling after both of its drivers showed promising pace during Sunday’s Sprint Race.

The opening round of Formula 1’s official feeder series gave Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott and Alfa Romeo Racing Development Driver Juan Manuel Correa their first taste of competitive action in the F2 category.

Both of the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz drivers’ results in Saturday’s Feature Race decided their grid slot for today’s 23-lap Sprint Race. That meant Callum lined up in P14, while his American team-mate started from P16.

Callum, third in the 2018 GP3 Series, showed strongly as he battled his way into the points-paying positions before ultimately coming home P16 as tyre wear again became an influential factor in Bahrain’s hot weather and differing pit stop strategies unravelled.

Juan Manuel made a fast getaway from the line and rose several positions as he also eyed a route into the points. Unfortunately, contact with another driver left him with front wing damage and a front-left puncture.

He was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop to repair the damage, but gamely rejoined the race and to record another finish, crossing the line in P18, as the team completed its maiden weekend.

The driver development team will now return to its base in the Czech Republic to reflect on the weekend’s action before starting its preparations for round two which takes place on the streets of Baku, Azerbaijan from April 26 to 28.

Antonin Charouz, Charouz Racing System team owner, said: “This was quite a tough weekend for our team but everyone can be proud of their efforts and I think the drivers learned a lot. There are another 22 races to contest and we know we’ll be competitive. We’ll analyse our data after Bahrain and push again in Baku. We’re already excited for round two.”

Bob Vavrik, Charouz Racing System Team Principal, said: “This is a very tough series for rookie drivers and that showed this weekend. The end results were disappointing but I’m encouraged by how we worked as a team and the reaction of the drivers to the challenges they faced. They both showed very good pace at times and that is positive for the next races. We’ll build on that.”

Callum Ilott said: “It’s been a tough debut weekend and a pretty steep learning curve for me but I feel there are lots of positives to build on. After qualifying, I was compromised on my tyre strategy for today but I enjoyed the race and it was good to move up the order. Now I’ll work with the team to move forward and come back stronger in Baku.”

Juan Manuel Correa said: “It was a big shame to lose the front wing in today’s race because I think without that a P7 or P8 would have been possible. We struggled in the Feature but in the Sprint we turned around and we were a lot stronger. I think we’re probably the ones that learned the most during the weekend. The knowledge we have compared to when we arrived here is big and that’s a massive positive for me.”

It’s been a pretty steep learning curve for me but I feel there are lots of positives to build on.

“It’s been a pretty steep learning curve for me but I feel there are lots of positives to build on.”


Callum Ilott  
Partners

Charouz Racing System. The team behind the team. Competing at motorsport’s highest level and helping to develop the driving talent of the future. A professional team that gets results.