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Sauber launches Driver Academy

NEWS STORY
24/06/2020

Sauber Motorsport, which operates the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN entry in the Formula One world championship, has officially unveiled the plans for a new driver development programme, the Sauber Academy - with four young talents as the first inductees for 2020.

In conjunction with the Sauber Karting Team, the Sauber Academy represents the completion of a full development pathway, designed to lead drivers from grassroots to the pinnacle of motorsport and nurture the next generation of Formula One drivers.

F4 Germany champion Theo Pourchaire, Sauber Karting Team graduate Dexter Patterson, Formula Renault Eurocup racer Petr Ptacek and karter Emerson Fittipaldi Junior are the first drivers selected to take part in the Academy programme, having access to Sauber's expertise and know-how and taking part in a tailor-made development programme to complement their 2020 racing activities.

Frenchman Pourchaire will make the step to FIA F3 in 2020, while Ptacek, who hails from Czechia, will continue in the championship that saw him claim multiple podiums in 2019. Scotland's Patterson will make his single-seater debut in the Italian F4 Championship, while Fittipaldi, son of the two-times F1 world champion whose name he shares, will drive in the OK-J karting championship with the Sauber Karting Team.

When it comes to discovering and nurturing young talent, Sauber has a proven record of success, boasting the names of Michael Schumacher, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica, Sergio Perez and, of course, Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi among the drivers getting their big break with the Swiss outfit.

The Sauber Academy, born under the auspices of Team Principal and CEO, Frederic Vasseur, and under the direct supervision of Sporting Director, Beat Zehnder, will provide the four inductees with the training necessary to progress on their way to their ultimate target, Formula One. This will take the shape of mental and physical training, technical work with the team's engineers, media training and work on the simulator - both for F1 and for the drivers' respective series - in order to develop a complete and well-rounded driver, capable of dealing professionally and successfully all the on- and off-track challenges a career in motorsport delivers.

"Investing in young talent has always been a central part of Sauber Motorsport's racing philosophy," said Frederic Vasseur. "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."

"I am looking forward to working with these four extremely talented drivers," added Beat Zehnder. "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."

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1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 24/06/2020 17:29

"I suppose the new academy will keep Ferrari well fed over the years (hopefully once F1 gets going again) and they won't have to raid the likes of Red Bull in future."

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