Sauber Junior Team development drivers revealed

19 February 2019

“I think we’ve brought together an extremely talented and determined line-up for 2019”

Antonin Charouz  

The Sauber Junior Team is pleased to confirm eight of its young development drivers that will race in the Formula 2, Formula 3 and Formula 4 racing categories in 2019.

Sauber Motorsport, which runs the Alfa Romeo Racing entry in Formula 1, partnered with Charouz Racing System in November to launch the Sauber Junior Team programme.

The programme mission is to support and develop the skills of a carefully-selected group of young drivers from 2019 onwards.

The Sauber Junior Team initiative is unique in international motorsport as it gives talented youngsters a clear pathway to potentially progress from the FIA’s entry-level single-seater category to the verge of Formula 1 with a single team.

Sauber Junior Team by Charouz will be represented in the FIA Formula 2 Championship by Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott, 20, from the UK, and American Juan Manuel Correa, 19, who impressed during last year’s F2 post-season test in Abu Dhabi.

The Sauber Junior Team by Charouz driver line-up in the FIA Formula 3 Championship is Switzerland’s Fabio Scherer, 19, reigning German F4 champion Lirim Zendeli, 19, and F3 Asia champion Raoul Hyman, 22.

The drivers that will fly the flag for the Sauber Junior Team by US Racing – Charouz in the German and Italian F4 championships are reigning South East Asia F4 champion, Alessandro Ghiretti, 17, Czech Republic National Team karting graduate Roman Staněk, 14, and French F4 Junior Champion Théo Pourchaire, 15.

A fourth driver that will race under the watchful eye of US Racing’s Ralf Schumacher and Gerhard Ungar will be announced shortly.

The drivers recently visited the Sauber Motorsport factory – the home of Alfa Romeo Racing – in Hinwil, Switzerland to continue their preparations for the season ahead.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG said: “The Sauber Junior Team is heading into the 2019 season with a strong line-up in the FIA single-seater categories – F2, F3 and F4. Our project was launched with the goal of passing on our experience to young drivers and providing a platform where they can successfully develop their skills and come closer to their dream of racing at the pinnacle of motorsport one day. We look forward to our collaboration and will follow the progress of these young talents closely.”

Antonin Charouz, Charouz Racing System owner, said: “It’s clear that the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz programme provides a unique opportunity for young drivers and I think we’ve brought together an extremely talented and determined line-up for 2019.

“This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our team’s history and we’re looking forward to building on our recent race and championship-winning form in the F2 and F4 categories, as well as showing or strengths in F3, as part of our partnership with Sauber Motorsport.”

F2 driver Callum Ilott said: “Charouz impressed me in 2018, so when [Charouz managing director] Bob Vavřík approached me, outlining the plans he and Fred had, it felt like the right place. Their technical strength, passion and integration with Sauber is something different, it’s great to have earned the chance to be part of it. I’m in a unique position; benefitting from the Ferrari Academy’s expertise with the added advantage of being in the Sauber Junior Team environment, to strengthen me as a driver. There’s a lot to learn, but I’m aiming to repay the FDA’s faith in me by delivering strong performances in the fight for the F2 Championship.”

F2 driver Juan Manuel Correa said: “This season is an incredible opportunity for my career not only because of the high-quality team that is Charouz Racing System, but also because it opens up a clear potential door to F1 through the Sauber Junior Team. A programme like this is what many drivers dream of, and I am very honoured to have been selected to be a part of it. I am confident that with the added contributions and knowledge from Sauber, I will be able to continue enhancing myself as a driver and have a successful rookie campaign.”

F3 driver Fabio Scherer said: “Joining the Sauber Junior Team is a big moment in my career and I’m determined to take my chance. I had a solid rookie season in F3 last year and I feel ready for this opportunity. I’m hugely proud to be Swiss and it’s an honour to represent Sauber in 2019. My target is to be the first driver from Switzerland to run in F1 with a team that is based in my homeland. I will give everything I can to try and achieve this dream.”

F3 driver Lirim Zendeli said: “Joining the Sauber Junior Team programme is a big honour. There are so many junior drivers in motorsport but many of them don’t get the chance to progress to the next level – like F3 – for many reasons. To have the chance to race at the top level of F3 in 2019, and to be affiliated to an F1 team at the same moment, is incredible. I’m thankful to everyone that has helped to bring this opportunity together.”

F3 driver Raoul Hyman said: “I’m excited to join the Sauber Junior Team in the new FIA F3 Championship and build on my title-winning success in the FIA F3 Asia series last year. The Charouz team performed extremely well in their first year of F2 during 2018, and also has a great record in other championships. With their technical and engineering skill, I am confident the team will be strong in FIA F3. I can’t wait to start testing and prepare for what promises to be an exciting season.”

F4 driver Roman Staněk said: “This is an important season for me as I move up from karting, but I’m pleased I will have the professional support of both Sauber and Charouz. My focus is on staying calm during the season and making the best results I can. I’m very happy to join the Sauber Junior Team in F4.”

F4 driver Alessandro Ghiretti said: “It’s going to be interesting to try a new Formula 4 championship. The car, tyres and tracks will be completely different to what I raced in Asia. But I’m excited for the new challenge. My goal is to adapt quickly and make a good job as I push for wins. Having a strong association with an F1 team is a good step at this stage of my career and I’m thankful for that.”

F4 driver Théo Pourchaire said: “Joining the Sauber Junior Team programme in F4 is a dream chance. Sauber Motorsport has helped so many young drivers in the past and I hope I can follow in their footsteps. I’m excited to step up and test myself at a higher level. It won’t be easy and I will be racing against some good team-mates who are fast, but my objective is to work hard and try to win the championship.”

As well as revealing its first driver signings, the Sauber Junior Team is also pleased to unveil the new F2, F3 and F4 car liveries that its drivers will take into battle during 2019.

“I think we’ve brought together an extremely talented and determined line-up for 2019”

Antonin Charouz  

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.