Sauber Junior Team F3 trio show fighting spirit in France


23 June 2019
I learned more about the tyres and the car, and it was valuable preparation for the next race in Austria

“I learned more about the tyres and the car, and it was valuable preparation for the next race in Austria”


Lirim Zendeli  

The French round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship proved to be a frustrating affair for the Sauber Junior Team, although all three drivers displayed their fighting spirit at Circuit Paul Ricard.

In a closely-matched field, the Charouz Racing System-run driver development squad showed strong pace during practice but was left frustrated after missing the optimum window in qualifying.

That left reigning ADAC Formula 4 champion Lirim Zendeli, F3 Asia champion Raoul Hyman and F3 podium finisher Fabio Scherer facing an uphill challenge.

The trio approached Saturday’s Race 1 with tenacity leaving Fabio P15, Raoul P17 and Lirim P23 on the grid for Sunday’s Race 2.

All three made gains and battled hard in the midfield, with Raoul working his way up to P10 at the chequered flag, until a penalty for a track infringement demoted the Briton to P13.

Lirim put in a stirring drive and carved his way past rivals to cross the line P16, making up several spots during the closing laps.

Fabio was in the mix for the top 10 but came off worst in a three-car battle for position, leaving his car with terminal damage.

The Sauber Junior Team by Charouz F3 driver will reconvene next weekend for the third round of the season at Spielberg in Austria.

Antonin Charouz, Charouz Racing System owner, said: “It’s frustrating to leave France without any points, especially as our race pace shows we have the potential for much more. I think we all accept that we need to do better in qualifying so we can start the races closer to the front.”

Jamie Dye, team manager, said: “It was a great race by Raoul to surge forward and finish in the top 10, and he can consider himself really unlucky to have a penalty that cost him a few positions. Lirim did well to recover and gain experience on a difficult weekend, while Fabio was unfortunate to end up out of the race after a good start. We can take positives from the event even though we leave without points.”

Lirim Zendeli said: “I think I was too cautious at the beginning. I had the feeling that my tyres might give up too soon but I think I could have started pushing earlier in the race. For me it was important to gain the race experience on a difficult weekend. I learned more about the tyres and the car, and it was valuable preparation for the next race in Austria.”

Fabio Scherer said: “I had a good start and got three or four positions. I thought I could improve more, but I had no straight-line speed at all. I had to brake later everywhere and that burned the tyres quicker. I got overtaken because I couldn’t defend, and the straights here are really long. At one point we were three wide and I ended up as the unfortunate one with front-end damage.”

Raoul Hyman said: “It was a decent race. The start was okay, and then into Turn 3 I got pushed off the road, so I re-joined, lost ground and got dirt over the tyres. I left space to ensure I didn’t rejoin unsafely but the stewards obviously felt otherwise. We managed to pick off a few guys and towards the end we were quite fast and it was great to get into the top 10 – before the penalty at least”

I learned more about the tyres and the car, and it was valuable preparation for the next race in Austria

“I learned more about the tyres and the car, and it was valuable preparation for the next race in Austria”


Lirim Zendeli  
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