Ferrari Academy driver Callum Ilott will step up to the FIA F2 Championship in 2019 with the newly-formed Sauber Junior Team, a partnership between Sauber and Charouz Racing System. Ilott, 20, finished third overall in this year’s GP3 Series, scoring two wins and seven podiums.
“Charouz impressed me in 2018, so when Bob Vavřík approached me and outlined the plans he and Fred Vasseur had for 2019, it felt like the right place for me to be,” says Ilott. “Their technical strength, passion and the integration with Sauber has created something different, and it’s great to have earned the chance to be a part of it.”
Ilott tested for Charouz in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year and was impressed with the Czech outfit, which took two victories in its first year in F2 in 2018. “It’s a technically strong team with some familiar faces that immediately made it feel like a good fit. We quickly got to a good baseline and ultimately finished third fastest on day one. 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,” adds Ilott.
Bob Vavrik, Charouz Racing System managing director said, “We’re pleased to confirm Callum as one of our Sauber Junior Team F2 drivers in 2019. His record in motorsport is strong and we kept a close eye on him last year when he was winning races and performing well in GP3. We were impressed when he joined us for the end of season F2 test in Abu Dhabi last year. He was immediately on the pace, setting P7 and P3 times in the sessions with us. We believe he has the ability to be a strong performer during his rookie F2 season.”
2019 will see Ilott also continue as a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) for a second season. “I am actually in a unique position, benefitting from all the expertise of the FDA’s programme with the advantage of being within the Sauber Junior Team environment too,” continues Ilott. “That’s a pretty good combination and it will strengthen me as a driver. I still have a lot to learn, but I am aiming to repay the FDA’s faith in me by delivering strong performances in the fight for the F2 Championship.”
After finishing on the rostrum in his rookie GP3 season, Ilott, selected once again for both the BRDC Superstars and Team UK elite driver programmes this year, is relishing the move up in 2019. “Together with FDA we decided that last year was all about preparing thoroughly for the step up to F2, and GP3 was the way to do it. Learning the tyres and delivering consistency were the goals last year. This year is about showcasing what we can do together to Sauber and Ferrari. Thank you to Frederic Vasseur at Sauber, Antonin Charouz and the Ferrari Driver Academy for giving me this great opportunity to move up the ladder,” concludes Ilott.
The opening round of the F2 championship that supports F1 at each of its 12 events takes
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