Sauber Junior Team set for FIA F2 racing debut in Bahrain


26 March 2019
I think testing showed we have a lot of potential and the aim at the first round will be to show it.

“I think testing showed we have a lot of potential and the aim at the first round will be to show it.”


Callum Ilott  

The Sauber Junior Team will make its FIA Formula 2 Championship debut at the Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain this weekend (29 – 31 March).

The squad, a new collaboration between Sauber Motorsport – the team that runs Alfa Romeo Racing in F1 – and F2 race winners Charouz Racing System, has travelled to the 5.41km desert circuit eager to build on the strong form it showed during pre-season testing in Spain.

Sauber Junior Team by Charouz will be represented on the F2 grid by Ferrari Driver Academy pilot Callum Ilott and Juan Manuel Correa, the American driver who was recently named as Alfa Romeo Racing’s Development Driver.

Both men are rookies in the F2 category, but have graduated to Formula 1’s official feeder series after showing their pedigree in the 2018 GP3 series.

This weekend’s races in Bahrain get the 12-round, 24-race F2 season underway and both drivers will be pushing to make a positive start in 2019.

The Sakhir International Circuit has been the home of the Bahrain Grand Prix since 2004 and is renowned for providing F2 drivers with a tough, season-opening challenge.

As well as having to drive in high ambient temperatures that will influence tyre degradation levels, Callum and Juan Manuel will face a circuit layout that stresses tyres and a track surface that is often dusty.

The action will get underway with Friday’s 45-minute practice session after which a 30-minute qualifying session will determine the grid for Saturday’s 32-lap Feature Race. The weekend will conclude with Sunday’s Sprint Race.

Antonin Charouz, team owner, said: “We’re all excited to see the competitive debut of Sauber Junior Team by Charouz. Everyone is motivated to have a strong season and we are set up to be strong. We are realistic that the competition will be tough this year but we will be pushing to deliver some points and good results from the beginning.”

Bob Vavrik, Charouz Racing System Team Principal, said: “Bahrain is a challenging event to start the season but we have valuable experience from 2018. Our rookie drivers are talented guys who did well in GP3, but the F2 car is completely different for them. I think we have a good base for the weekend and the focus will be on supporting Callum and JM and guiding them so they can perform at the maximum. We’re excited to start.”

Callum Ilott said: “I’m looking forward to racing in Bahrain and getting my season underway. I think testing showed we have a lot of potential and the aim at the first round will be to show it. I haven’t been to the circuit but I’ve driven plenty of laps on the simulator. It’s a track that flows quite nicely and they’re normally the ones I enjoy.”

Juan Manuel Correa said: “It’s going to be a weekend of firsts because it’s my F2 debut and I’ve never driven on the Sakhir track. But I’m relaxed and have a good vibe about what’s ahead. We know where we were strong in testing and we’ve taken steps to address the things we had to improve.”

I think testing showed we have a lot of potential and the aim at the first round will be to show it.

“I think testing showed we have a lot of potential and the aim at the first round will be to show it.”


Callum Ilott  
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