Strong start of the year for the Sauber Academy drivers
The last few weeks have been busy for the drivers flying the flag of the Sauber Academy, the Sauber young driver development pathway. With tests, simulator work and a hectic start of the season, the four drivers running under our aegis had good success at the beginning of or in the run-up to their 2023 campaigns.
Théo Pourchaire kicked off his third Formula 2 season by conquering pole position under the lights of the Bahrain International Circuit. Following a fifth place in Saturday’s Sprint Race, for which he lined up 8th on the grid, the young Frenchman converted his pole position into a stunning win in Sunday’s Feature Race, leaving Sakhir at the forefront of the fight for the championship. A challenging weekend in Jeddah saw Théo adding no points to his tally, after a collision during the Sprint Race which resulted in a DNF and in a five-place grid penalty ahead of the following day’s Feature Race, in which he ended in 13th place. There was redemption in Melbourne, however, as F2 made its debut in Australia. Théo reignited his championship challenge with a good performance in qualifying, in which he set the second fastest time, followed by second place in the feature race – a strong result that made up for a pointless sprint race, in which a gamble to switch to wet tyres in uncertain conditions did not pay off.
Following three intense rounds and six races, the Frenchman finds himself in second place in the championship, eight points shy of leader, Ayumu Iwasa – and will aim to reclaim the lead in Baku at the end of April. It was not just a month of racing, however: alongside his Formula 2 campaign, Théo had a busy programme of simulator sessions, as part of his role as Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Reserve Driver, as he helped the team progressing on and off the track.
Counting the days for her debut in the newly founded F1 Academy series, Léna Bühler spent the month training and preparing for the upcoming season, which will host its inaugural race weekend in Spielberg, Austria in April. Léna sampled her F1 Academy car during a test session in Barcelona, in which she shared the track with the other competitors in her series.
Waiting for the start of his own 2023 campaign as well, Marcus Amand has been busy with testing sessions in Barcelona, Le Castellet and Monza. The young Franco-Finnish driver will make his debut in the Formula Regional European Championship later in April, at the iconic Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola.
Representing the Sauber Karting Team, Taym Saleh raced in the Valencia round of the Champions of the Future Euro Series, which unfortunately came to an end for the young German due to a DNF. Returning in Valencia later in the month for the FIA Karting European Championship round, Taym lined up on the grid in pole position, ultimately finishing in fourth place and maintaining his third place in the championship standings.
The remainder of April will be another hectic time for our Academy drivers, with all four racers in competitive action during the next 30 days.