Bittersweet F3 opener for Sauber Junior Team at Monza

07 September 2019
We had some good fights and it’s great to be back in the points

“We had some good fights and it’s great to be back in the points”

Fabio Scherer  

The Sauber Junior Team returned to the points-paying positions in the FIA Formula 3 Championship at Monza today, but was left to ponder a frustrating early exit from the lead.

The driver development squad reconvened in Italy under difficult circumstances after the tragic accident at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend that claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert and left Sauber Junior Team colleague Juan Manuel Correa in hospital with serious injuries.

Sauber Junior Team by Charouz’s trio of F3 chargers – Lirim Zendeli, Fabio Scherer and Raoul Hyman – bravely tackled the high-speed Monza circuit during Saturday morning’s first race of the weekend. Lirim started from a season-best P2, with Fabio P20 and Raoul P23.

A strong opening lap catapulted Lirim into the lead and the German driver remained at the head of the pack through the early laps. Sadly, his car was hit from behind by a rival at the end of lap three. The contact left Lirim’s machine with a rear puncture and, facing a full lap back to the pits, he was forced to retire.

Fabio and Raoul both made stellar gains during an eventful race, with 20-year-old Fabio climbing 12 places to pick up four points for P8, while Raoul was classified P17 after the Briton dropped down the order following an off-track excursion at Turn One.

Sunday’s second race is scheduled for 09:30 local time, with Fabio set to start from pole position, Raoul P17 and Lirim P28.

Antonin Charouz, Charouz Racing System owner, said: “It’s great that we could bring a positive result and some points to the team in the current circumstances but it’s also frustrating because we could have had a win or a podium from the race. At least we have shown some good pace across all three cars today and that gives us some confidence for the second race tomorrow.”

Jamie Dye, Team Manager, said: “It’s unfortunate for Lirim to get caught out like that, as he’d made a brilliant start, and had managed the first laps extremely well. Fabio did a mega job as he kept pushing his way forward and other people’s misfortune worked in his favour. Raoul had also made good progress up to P12 before he got punted off. We at least have one car starting in the top 10 tomorrow.”

Lirim Zendeli said: “I don’t know what he [the other driver] was thinking. I couldn’t do anything different. He had DRS, the guy behind him had DRS, I was the one without DRS. Why didn’t he just lift and get me on the straight? I had the pace for sure, because yes, I was trying to pull away, but I wasn’t destroying my tyres. I knew I would drop a bit but I knew at the end I would have better tyres. It was good to lead, and get the start, but we’ve had so much bad luck.”

Fabio Scherer said: “It was a solid race. We got a bit lucky with the Safety Car periods. We need to find some more speed for tomorrow as in a more normal race we would have struggled. But we had some good fights and it’s great to be back in the points.”

Raoul Hyman said: “One of the usual suspects just chucked me off the track. I had to go straight on down the escape road. He pushed me off twice in the race. I think we could have done better in qualifying and we could have been inside the top 10. It’s frustrating to have decent pace and be nowhere, in terms of the end result, at the same time.”

We had some good fights and it’s great to be back in the points

“We had some good fights and it’s great to be back in the points”

Fabio Scherer  

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.