Sauber Motorsport, the organisation behind the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team, have relaunched their junior academy with four drivers for 2020 announced on Wednesday.
Making up the programme are Formula 4 Germany champion Théo Pourchaire, Sauber Karting Team graduate Dexter Patterson, Formula Renault Eurocup racer Petr Ptacek and karter Emerson Fittipaldi Jr.
Under the direct supervision of Sauber sporting director Beat Zehnder, Pourchaire will make the leap this year to Formula 3, Patterson will make his single-seater debut in Italian F4, Ptacek will continue in Formula Renault and Fittipaldi Jr will drive in the OK-J karting championship.
An outfit with a long history in motorsport, the intention is to add further names to the list of Sauber-produced F1 drivers that includes the likes of world champions Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen.
“I am looking forward to working with these four extremely talented drivers,” said Zehnder in a press release accompanying the announcement. “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 1.
“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.”
Frederic Vasseur, Sauber CEO and Alfa Romeo team principal, echoed Zehnder’s sentiments.
“Investing in young talent has always been a central part of Sauber Motorsport’s racing philosophy,” he 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.”