Ferrari Academy driver Callum Ilott will be on the Formula 2 grid in 2019 with the newly-formed Sauber Junior Team with American Juan Manuel Correa as his team-mate.
Ilott, who finished third in the GP3 championship last year with two wins, will make his series debut for the team that has been formed from a new partnership between the Sauber F1 team (now called Alfa Romeo) and Charouz Racing System. Charouz previously had a partnership with the Ferrari Young Driver Academy.
The 20 year-old tested for Charouz in Abu Dhabi at the end of last season and was impressed with the squad that claimed two victories in its debut year in F2 in 2018.
“Charouz impresssed me in 2018, so when Bob Vavrik (Charouz Managing Director) approached me and outlined the plans he and Fred Vasseur (Alfa Romeo Team Principal) had for 2019, it felt the right place for me to be” said Ilott. “It’s a technically strong team with some familiar faces that immediately made it feel like a good fit; We quickly got a good baseline. F2 is rightly a challenging category; the cars are quick and technical and with pitstops adding more strategy to the races. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Ilott was also quick mention his retention on the Ferrari Young Driver Academy for a second season. “There’s a lot to learn, but I’m aiming to repay the FDA’s faith in me by delivering strong performances in the fight for the F2 Championship.”
Illott will be joined in the team by fellow GP3 graduate Juan Manuel Correa, who joins the series after a tough year with Jenzer Motorsport in GP3 which left the American 12th in the championship for 2018.
“This season is an incredible opportunity for my career not only because of the high-quality team that is Charouz Racing System, but also because it opens up a clear potential door to F1 through the Sauber Junior Team” stated Correa. ” A programme like this what many drivers dream of, and I am very honoured to have been seleced to be part of it. i am confident that with the added contributions and knowledge from Sauber, I will be able to continue enhancing myself as a driver and have a successful rookie campaign.”
With a high chance Correa could be the youngest driver on the grid, the 19-year old was cautious with his championship expectations. “Results-wise, if I’m being honest, top seven in the championship would be a good year for me in F2,” said Correa to Autosport.com. “It’s not an excuse but you just have to be realistic, and to learn as much as possible. I think we can do a good job. A few podiums I hope and top six or seven in the championship would be a positive year for me.”
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.”
Ilott and Correa will be joined on the Formula 2 grid from fellow GP3 graduates Anthoine Hubert, Nikita Mazpin and Guiliano Alesi for the opening round at the Sakhir International Circuit, Bahrain in late March.
CURRENT 2019 FORMULA 2 LINE UP SO FAR
CARLIN – Louis Deletraz, Nobuharu Matsushita
ART GRAND PRIX – Nikita Mazpin, Nyck de Vries
DAMS – Sergio Sette Camara, Nicholas Latifi
UNI-VIRTUOSI RACING – Guanyu Zhou, Luca Ghiotto
PREMA RACING – Mick Schumacher, Sean Gelael
SAUBER JUNIOR TEAM BY CHAROUZ – Callum Ilott, Juan Manuel Correa
CAMPOS RACING – Jack Aitken, TBA
MP MOTORSPORT – TBA, TBA
BWT ARDEN – Anthoine Hubert, TBA
TRIDENT – Giuliano Alesi, TBA