Challenging F3 debut for Sauber Junior Team trio


11 May 2019
By the end of the race all three cars looked like they had enough pace if we had been less conservative

“By the end of the race all three cars looked like they had enough pace if we had been less conservative”


Jamie Dye, F3 Team Manager  

The Sauber Junior Team’s trio of Formula 3 drivers had difficult starts to their campaigns in the opening round of the new FIA championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Saturday.

Reigning ADAC F4 champion Lirim Zendeli, F3 podium finisher Fabio Scherer and F3 Asia champion Raoul Hyman each made their debut with the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz squad – a partnership between Sauber Motorsport and Charouz Racing System that gives young drivers a clear pathway through the FIA’s single-seater ranks.

Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya hosted the opening 22-lap race of the season, ending a long winter of waiting for the drivers, and giving them their first race experience in the F3/19 machine.

In a competitive field, Zendeli and Hyman raced in the thick of the midfield action and were classified P14 and P21, with Hyman losing ground after receiving a post-race time penalty.

Scherer was forced to start from the pit lane after being cruelly hit by a rival on the way to the grid, and he finished in P27.

Antonin Charouz, Charouz Racing System team owner, said: “We cannot be satisfied with our results today, but there were still positives to take and we have shown that we have both the pace and the potential to do well. What we have learned today will help us in the future, and we look forward to a fresh start on Sunday.”

Jamie Dye, Team Manager, said: “By the end of the race all three cars looked like they had enough pace if we had been less conservative. It’s a shame about Raoul’s five-second penalty. Lirim just needs a bit more experience as I think he was a lot quicker than the people ahead of him. Fabio was unlucky with the incident before the race. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. We’ll reset and go again.”

Lirim Zendeli said: “It was obviously not the result we were hoping for, but as it was my first race in the championship I cannot be too disappointed. I made a good start but after that I think the inexperience showed and I lost a few positions. But I was able to learn by following some other drivers and I think that will help in the future. It was definitely the race in which I learned the most in my whole career.”

Fabio Scherer said: “What can I say when you are hit from behind on the way to the grid? I had a puncture and a damaged rear. Instead of starting in the middle of the pack I had to start from the pit lane and so I was last. I overtook a few cars, but the car didn’t behave properly. I am determined to have a good race tomorrow with a proper start. It will be difficult from where I will be, but I love such challenges and I can attack tomorrow.”

Raoul Hyman said: “Our pace was much better than the result showed – the one place we had some problems was in the last chicane, and that really affected us. We probably set the car up to try and save tyres but the degradation we expected never arrived. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll be better, but with a 30-car grid it shows that we really have to get qualifying right.”

By the end of the race all three cars looked like they had enough pace if we had been less conservative

“By the end of the race all three cars looked like they had enough pace if we had been less conservative”


Jamie Dye, F3 Team Manager  
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