Sauber Junior Team drivers take valuable F3 experience in Spain


12 May 2019
I think we did a good job to make progress through the weekend as the car was really nice to drive by Race 2

“I think we did a good job to make progress through the weekend as the car was really nice to drive by Race 2”


Lirim Zendeli  

The Sauber Junior Team gathered more valuable experience during the second FIA Formula 3 Championship race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday.

The junior team, a driver development collaboration between Sauber Motorsport – which runs Alfa Romeo Racing in F1 – and prolific single-seater winners Charouz Racing System, made its category debut in Spain this weekend.

The results from Saturday’s opening race meant the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz drivers started on the back foot in Race 2 and the 22-lap race proved to be a challenging encounter.

Reigning ADAC Formula 4 champion Lirim Zendeli made gains from his starting position of P14 and challenged for a place inside the top-ten. The German ultimately finished in P11.

Fabio Scherer started from P27 on the grid, having been bumped down the order after cruelly receiving contact from a rival during Saturday’s race. Unfortunately, the 19-year-old had to retire after eight laps due to a Turn 1 clash.

On his 23rd birthday, Raoul Hyman’s race sadly lasted just a few hundred metres as he was an innocent party when two other drivers came to blows through Turn 2. The Briton had nowhere to go and was pitched into the barriers.

Sauber Junior Team by Charouz will next be in Formula 3 action when the championship resumes as a support act to Formula 1 and Formula 2 at Circuit Paul Ricard from 21 – 23 June.

Antonin Charouz, Charouz Racing System team owner, said: “It’s been a difficult debut weekend for our F3 drivers. The pace was largely there but unfortunately, we suffered at the hands of others on two occasions. We will use our time to analyse everything that’s happened this weekend so we can show our full potential in France.”

Jamie Dye, Team Manager, said: “Leaving the first round of the championship empty-handed is disappointing, but we can draw some positives. We managed to improve the pace of the car in each session and all three drivers managed to gain valuable experience. It’s so close in the championship that we know every small gain will make a huge difference. That’s what we’ll be working on between now and Paul Ricard.”

Lirim Zendeli said: “We had decent pace and I almost made it to P9 but I locked up my front tyres, so we missed out in the end. But from run-to-run, practice to qualifying, race one to two, we are getting better. We didn’t start on top but we are getting there. I think we did a good job to make progress through the weekend as the car was really nice to drive by Race 2.”

Fabio Scherer said: “It was a difficult weekend from free practice onwards. We improved a bit for qualifying, but then both of my races were wrecked by the incident before the start in the first race. There wasn’t much I could do, but at least I got some more experience. The pace wasn’t too bad but when you’re at the back it’s difficult. Hopefully we can make a big improvement at the next event.”

Raoul Hyman said: “My start was reasonable but through Turn 1 there were guys coming across the track. I got hit from behind. I was trying to avoid one potential accident and just got caught up in another. It’s a shame. On the way to the grid the car felt pretty good with the changes that we made overnight so it’s a pity we weren’t able to try it.”

I think we did a good job to make progress through the weekend as the car was really nice to drive by Race 2

“I think we did a good job to make progress through the weekend as the car was really nice to drive by Race 2”


Lirim Zendeli  
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