The Sauber Junior Team have revealed that Fabio Scherer, Lirim Zendeli and Raoul Hyman will be its drivers in the FIA Formula 3 Championship during 2019.
Sauber Motorsport, which runs the Alfa Romeo Racing entry in Formula 1, partnered with Charouz Racing System in November to launch the Sauber Junior Team programme. The programme mission is to support and develop the skills of a carefully-selected group of young drivers from 2019 onwards.
The Sauber Junior Team initiative is unique in international motorsport as it gives talented youngsters a clear pathway to potentially progress from the FIA's entry-level single-seater category to the verge of Formula 1 with a single team.
Switzerland's Fabio Scherer, 19, reigning German F4 champion Lirim Zendeli, 19, and F3 Asia champion Raoul Hyman, 22, are the drivers that will lead the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz assault this season.
Fabio Scherer said: “Joining the Sauber Junior Team is a big moment in my career and I’m determined to take my chance. I had a solid rookie season in F3 last year and I feel ready for this opportunity. I’m hugely proud to be Swiss and it’s an honour to represent Sauber in 2019. My target is to be the first driver from Switzerland to run in F1 with a team that is based in my homeland. I will give everything I can to try and achieve this dream.”
Lirim Zendeli said: “Joining the Sauber Junior Team programme is a big honour. There are so many junior drivers in motorsport but many of them don’t get the chance to progress to the next level – like F3 – for many reasons. To have the chance to race at the top level of F3 in 2019, and to be affiliated to an F1 team at the same moment, is incredible. I’m thankful to everyone that has helped to bring this opportunity together.”
Raoul Hyman said: "I'm excited to join the Sauber Junior Team in the new FIA F3 Championship and build on my title-winning success in the FIA F3 Asia series last year. The Charouz team performed extremely well in their first year of F2 during 2018, and also has a great record in other championships. With their technical and engineering skill, I am confident the team will be strong in FIA F3. I can't wait to start testing and prepare for what promises to be an exciting season."
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG said: “The Sauber Junior Team is heading into the 2019 season with a strong line-up in the FIA single-seater categories – F2, F3 and F4. Our project was launched with the goal of passing on our experience to young drivers and providing a platform where they can successfully develop their skills and come closer to their dream of racing at the pinnacle of motorsport one day. We look forward to our collaboration and will follow the progress of these young talents closely.”
Antonin Charouz, Charouz Racing System owner, said: “It’s clear that the Sauber Junior Team by Charouz programme provides a unique opportunity for young drivers and I think we’ve brought together an extremely talented and determined line-up for 2019.
“This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our team’s history and we’re looking forward to building on our recent race and championship-winning form in the F2 and F4 categories, as well as showing or strengths in F3, as part of our partnership with Sauber Motorsport.”