Sauber Motorsport, which operates the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN entry in the Formula One world championship, has relaunched its new junior driver development programme that was established last year. The new Sauber Academy will be supporting four young drivers including German Formula 4 champion Theo Pourchaire, Sauber Karting Team graduate Dexter Patterson, Formula Renault Eurocup racer Petr Ptacek and karting racer Emerson Fittipaldi Jr. The team previously worked with Charouz Racing System to operate its junior team in 2019 but with that partnership concluding last season, the new Sauber Academy has been established and promises to offer a full development pathway from the grassroots to the pinnacle of motorsport.
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Speaking about the new academy, Frederic Vasseur, CEO Sauber Motorsport AG said, "Investing in young talent has always been a central part of Sauber Motorsport's racing philosophy. Our Academy is just the latest project aimed at unearthing stars of the future and guiding them through their career, giving them the tools, the education and the resources needed to succeed in the world of motorsport."
Beat Zehnder, Sporting Director Sauber Motorsport AG said, "I am looking forward to working with these four extremely talented drivers. They are all at different stages of their career but each of them has the raw skills we will need to harness to help them in their journey to Formula One. Over the years, I have seen many young drivers making their debut at the top of motorsport and it is true that the earlier you acquire these skills, the more you can profit from them in the long term."
Sauber has had a rich history of helping nurture young F1 drivers with several notable names including Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Robert Kubica and Sergio Perez. The Sauber Academy will be overseen by Alfa Romeo Racing Team principal Frederic Vasseur and sporting director Beat Zehnder. The young drivers will be offered the necessary training to "progress on their way to their ultimate target, Formula One."
Most major teams run their respective junior driver development programmes that help scout and nurture the F1 stars of tomorrow. The Red Bull Junior Team, Scuderia Toro Rosso Driver Programme, Renault Sport Academy, Ferrari Driver Academy, McLaren Young Driver Programme, SportPesa Racing Point Junior Team, among others, have all contributed towards driver development. In fact, India's very own Jehan Daruvala was the recent addition to the Red Bull Junior Team and will make his Formula 2 debut when the season starts next month.