Sauber Junior Team secure maiden F2 points in Azerbaijan

27 April 2019
The positives are the start was decent and the pace was really strong

“The positives are the start was decent and the pace was really strong”

Callum Ilott  

The Sauber Junior Team claimed its first FIA Formula 2 Championship points during an enthralling Feature Race in Azerbaijan today (27 April).

The driver development squad is a partnership between Sauber Motorsport, the organisation that runs Alfa Romeo Racing in F1, and race-winning F2 outfit Charouz Racing System.

Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott and Alfa Romeo Racing F1 development driver Juan Manuel Correa got their first taste of the challenging Baku street circuit during Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions. Briton Callum lined up P11 for the 29-lap Feature Race while his American team-mate started from P17.

In an attrition-filled race that became a timed affair on the Baku City Circuit, there were mixed fortunes for both drivers.

Callum sustained front wing damage at the opening corner which dropped him down the order and necessitated an unscheduled pit stop.

He re-joined the race and was battling impressively for points when a suspected electrical problem struck his car. He was forced to retire in the pits.

Juan Manuel made strong progress during an incident-filled opening lap and continued his march up the order after making his mandatory pit stop. He took the chequered flag in P8 – but was later promoted to P7 after another driver ahead of him received a post-race time penalty.

The result earned Juan Manuel six championship points and second place on the grid for Sunday’s 21-lap, reversed-grid Sprint Race. Callum is poised to start from P16.

Antonin Charouz, team owner, said: “We targeted an improvement in Baku after the difficulties we had in Bahrain last month and that’s what we got. The pace from both drivers was very strong and it’s pleasing to see the hard work and determination rewarded with our first points. There’s more work to do but this gives us a good platform for more success. Starting from the front row of the grid tomorrow is an exciting prospect for us.”

Bob Vavrik, Team Principal, said: “I’m pretty happy that after leaving empty-handed in Bahrain we could get our first points on the board today. It was a crazy race. Juan Manuel had a good start, overtook some cars and avoided the incidents. Callum was unfortunate that he had an electrical issue that we need to analyse, so for sure, for the team it could have been even better. But considering the difficult nature of Baku, and that we have two rookies, I’m happy for the points.”

Callum Ilott said: “I got a good start but going into Turn 1 the brakes weren’t quite warm enough and I made contact. The front wing got stuck and we had to change it. There was a bit more damage to other parts of the car, but I was lucky that I could keep going. The pace was really good considering the damage and who knows what could have happened. But problems are going to happen at some point, it’s just a shame it happened here. The positives are the start was decent and the pace was really strong.”

Juan Manuel Correa said: “It was crazy! I’m very happy to get the first points. P8 was our goal after qualifying but it was such a messy race that even now I feel I could have probably done even better! But I’m happy. We have the points and we finished the race with no incidents. I gained a lot of experience and everything went quite smoothly. Tomorrow we start from the front row and I think we have the pace to stay in the front. That gives us confidence.”

The positives are the start was decent and the pace was really strong

“The positives are the start was decent and the pace was really strong”

Callum Ilott  

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.