Sauber F1 boss Frederic Vasseur has explained the decision to partner with Charouz Racing System to create ‘Sauber Junior Team’.
The announcement was made in November with the Swiss F1 team joining hands with the Czech outfit to become its Junior Team from 2019 onward. The team will compete in four of the junior championships in Sauber colours.
While it will continue to compete in the FIA Formula 2 Championship and ADAC F4, it will make its debut in the FIA Formula 3 Championship and also Italian F4 which will help Sauber to monitor the performances of the drivers racing for the team.
Vasseur, who also owns ART Grand Prix, has worked for a long time in the junior categories which was one of the reasons for the Frenchman to associate and create a junior outfit, so as to pave a way for talented racers to F1.
“[For now] 2019 is the beginning of the project,” he told FormulaRapida.net when asked about the partnership. “I want to develop something in junior series because if you look at the mid-term or long-term project [of Sauber], we need to be there [sooner or later].
“But we have to go step by step. We are quite a small team but I [still] wanted to develop this kind of partnership. I don’t want to indicate that the driver of the car in 2019 [especially F2] will be a future Sauber driver [for sure though].
“We will go step by step – first thing is we collaborate and find good drivers. The most important thing for me is to build up a partnership with the team just to be sure that we have all the data to follow the drivers, their improvement.
“If we can then collaborate to be supportive in marketing, event, technical side – we will [certainly] support them.” The partnership with Charouz came as a little surprise though considering Vasseur’s ownership of ART.
Among the current F1 teams, Sauber is the only squad to have a partnership of this sort with a junior team with a lot of other outfits only fielding their proteges in the teams of their choice like Ferrari doing with Prema mostly.
As Vasseur alluded to, the Sauber-Charouz partnership has to be built over the years to reap the results. So far, there has been no announcements regarding their driver line-up in any of the four series with only Sauber junior Tatiana Calderon in frame for a F2 drive.