Sauber Motorsport AG, operators of the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team in Formula 1, have unveiled a new academy to help develop young drivers. The program will team with Sauber Karting Team and aim to nurture the next generation of world-class drivers.
The first four inductees into the academy have been unveiled, F4 Germany champion Théo Pourchaire, Sauber Karting Team graduate Dexter Patterson, Formula Renault Eurocup driver Petr Ptacek and karter Emerson Fittipaldi Jr., son of two-time Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, will be the first members to join the academy.
The program will be under the supervision of Sporting Director Beat Zehnder, who expressed his excitement about the program and the drivers involved in a press release.
“I am looking forward to working with these four extremely talented drivers,” Zehnder said.
“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.”
Team principal and CEO Frédéric Vasseur added that having an academy remains important to the team’s identity.
“Investing in young talent has always been a central part of Sauber Motorsport’s racing philosophy,” Vasseur said.
“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.”
In their history, Sauber has a stellar record of developing and giving opportunities to young drivers. The likes of Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, have all come through Sauber on their way to a combined 12 world championships between them.
In 2020, Pourchaire will make the jump to FIA Formula 3 while Patterson will make his single-seater debut in the Italian F4 Championship. Ptacek will continue in the Formula Renault Eurocup Championship, and Fittipaldi Jr. will join the Sauber Karting Team in the OK-J Karting Championship.