There has been considerable talk of late relating to the challenges drivers will face securing sponsorship once life returns to normal and racing resumes full time. With many companies facing financial constraints due to a reduction in business, there will inevitably be less in the sponsorship pot.
It is therefore encouraging news that Sauber Motorsport has announced the creation a driver development program, the Sauber Academy. The brainchild of Frédéric Vasseur, team principal of Alfa Romeo Racing (run by Sauber) and CEO of Sauber Motorsport, and under the direct supervision of sporting director Beat Zehnder, the team said the academy will provide its (four initially) inductees the training necessary to progress on their way to a future Formula One drive.
The academy program will focus on 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 with all the on- and off-track challenges a career in motorsport delivers.
Health regulations permitting, the team also hopes the program will include training camps for the off-season and access to the most professional resources available to the Sauber Motorsport team.
F4 Germany champion Théo 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 program.
Sauber sporting director Beat Zehnder commented, “I am looking forward to working with these four extremely talented drivers. 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.”