Sauber Junior Team completes first official FIA F3 test in France


21 March 2019
It's been a long wait to get our 12-strong F3 team and drivers on the track to start testing but I'm pleased to have made a solid start.

“It's been a long wait to get our 12-strong F3 team and drivers on the track to start testing but I'm pleased to have made a solid start.”


Antonin Charouz  

The Sauber Junior Team got its FIA Formula 3 Championship campaign underway at Le Castellet Circuit in France today as it completed the first official pre-season test of 2019.

Sauber Motorsport, which runs the Alfa Romeo Racing entry in Formula 1, has partnered with Charouz Racing System to field development drivers in each of the FIA’s single-seater categories during 2019, including F3.

The drivers that have been selected to represent Sauber Junior Team by Charouz in F3 converged on the 5.84km Le Castellet Circuit to familiarise themselves with the new F3 chassis that they will campaign across eight rounds and 16 races this season.

F3 podium finisher Fabio Scherer, reigning ADAC F4 champion Lirim Zendeli and current F3 Asia champion Raoul Hyman all got behind the wheel of their respective cars on Wednesday and Thursday (today).

The two-day test marked the first time all of the drivers have been able to put the new-for-2019 F3 car through its paces.

The trio lapped a combined 357 times and completed 2084 kilometres of vital running in the south of France.

Antonin Charouz, team owner, said: “It’s been a long wait to get our 12-strong F3 team and drivers on the track to start testing but I’m pleased to have made a solid start. There has been some technical issues, which is common with a new car, but I think we worked hard to overcome them and we have a good base to move forward.”

Jamie Dye, team manager, said: “We got what we needed from two productive days of running and we’re in a good position to move forward with our programme. We had a handful of technical setbacks but we also showed some great pace with Lirim’s P2 on Wednesday afternoon. Now we go back to the factory, regroup and focus on building our pace for the second test.”

Fabio Scherer said: “I enjoyed the experience driving the new F3 car and it was great to start working with my new team. I had a throttle problem that compromised my performance run this afternoon but I still managed to set a best lap time of 1m 50.1s which shows there is a lot of potential in what we have and the direction we’re heading. I’m pleased with that.”

Lirim Zendeli said: “I haven’t driven for four months so it was a really nice feeling to be back in a race car. We had to change my car’s engine at the end of the first day and that limited my running, but I’m somewhere in the middle of the pack which is okay at this point. Setting the P2 time in yesterday’s afternoon session proved that I can perform and set fast times in a super competitive group.”

Raoul Hyman said: “It was a good feeling to get my testing programme underway and to work with the team. Unfortunately, we had some technical issues with the car that meant we didn’t get as much track time as I was hoping for and I think that prevented me from showing the true potential. We know the work we need to do before the next test to ensure we hit the ground running in Spain and I’m confident we’ll be stronger as a result.”

Sauber Junior Team by Charouz will return to F3 testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain on 9-10 April. A third and final pre-season test will be held at the Hungaroring in Hungary a week later.

It's been a long wait to get our 12-strong F3 team and drivers on the track to start testing but I'm pleased to have made a solid start.

“It's been a long wait to get our 12-strong F3 team and drivers on the track to start testing but I'm pleased to have made a solid start.”


Antonin Charouz  
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