Sauber Junior Team take positives from opening F2 race in Bahrain


30 March 2019
The positives are that we finished the race and have good mileage.

“The positives are that we finished the race and have good mileage.”


Juan Manuel Correa  

The Sauber Junior Team’s rookie FIA Formula 2 Championship drivers successfully completed their first gruelling race in the category at the Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain today (Saturday).

The 32-lap Feature Race marked the competitive debut for the new driver development squad that is a collaboration between Sauber Motorsport – the organisation that runs Alfa Romeo Racing in Formula 1 – and F2 race winners Charouz Racing System.

Briton Callum Ilott started from P18 on the grid after exiting Friday’s qualifying session early, while American team-mate Juan Manuel Correa lined up in P12 after showing promise in his identical F2 car.

Both rookie drivers had to work hard to manage their tyres in the hot and sticky conditions that are typical at Sakhir – the home of the Bahrain Grand Prix – but they learned a lot as they successfully completed the full race distance.

Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum made impressive gains as he set the fastest lap of the race on lap 17. He finished P14 after a race-long battle for points.

Correa meanwhile, recently appointed to the position of Alfa Romeo Racing Development Driver, finished P16 after enduring a challenging race.

Both of the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz drivers will be back in action on Sunday afternoon when they tackle the 23-lap Sprint Race.

Antonin Charouz, Charouz Racing system owner, said: “It was a proud moment to get our F2 campaign underway today and our drivers will take a lot of experience from the Feature Race. It was important to complete the full race distance so they can learn, continue to push forward and fulfil the potential we know we have.”

Bob Vavrik, Charouz Racing System Team Principal, said: “When you have two rookies on the team, they’re always going to lack experience compared to other drivers. During the first stint, we were struggling. But on the second stint both cars had speed for the top-five positions. It was pleasing to see that pace. Overall, it wasn’t the result we were looking for but there’s a lot of positives for us to take into the upcoming races.”

Callum Ilott said: “I didn’t make the best start and there was a lot of fighting in the first few laps. I also made a few little errors so that contributed to me hurting the tyres on the first stint. But we reacted to that and the second stint of the race was really strong. We’ve learned a lot today. It’s a shame it wasn’t further up the grid, but that’s sometimes how it is. Now we focus on the Sprint Race.”

Juan Manuel Correa said: “It was definitely a good experience to complete my first F2 race but we need to analyse what happened. The conditions were quite different to testing and we weren’t the only ones to find the tyres a challenge. I’m fairly confident we’ll have it fixed for tomorrow. The positives are that we finished the race and have good mileage. It’s a big learning curve for me. From here on it’ll just get better and better.”

The positives are that we finished the race and have good mileage.

“The positives are that we finished the race and have good mileage.”


Juan Manuel Correa  
Partners

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.