Sauber F1 team launches junior programme with F2's Charouz Racing
The Sauber Formula 1 team has partnered with junior single-seater outfit Charouz Racing System to form a young driver development programme.
Sauber has not previously had a defined junior operation but has established close ties to Ferrari.
It handed Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc his F1 debut this season and is preparing to run Ferrari simulator driver Antonio Giovinazzi in 2019, alongside new signing Kimi Raikkonen.
Charouz previously announced a Ferrari affiliation heading into the 2018 season, its first year in Formula 2 after moving from the Formula V8 3.5 series.
It will also compete in the new FIA Formula 3 Championship next year, adding to its ADAC and Italian Formula 4 championships.
Under the new agreement Sauber Junior Team drivers are set to compete in the respective junior categories, providing youngsters with a path through towards F1, with the first tests set for Abu Dhabi later this month.
The programme will be run out of Charouz's base in the Czech Republic. "Racing is a vital part of Sauber Motorsport's DNA and the Sauber Junior Team marks an important milestone in the company history," said Sauber boss Frederic Vasseur.
"Sauber has a long tradition of helping drivers reach their full potential, having worked with the likes of Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and upcoming star Charles Leclerc.
"With this project, Sauber further extends its racing platform with a complete and dedicated programme from the junior series to the pinnacle of motorsport.
Sauber launches junior team with Charouz
"We are delighted to partner with Charouz Racing System, a highly professional team that operates with success in all the series."
Charouz team owner Antonin Charouz praised the junior team's "unique model".
"Establishing a Junior Team partnership with Sauber Motorsport is a proud moment in the history of Charouz Racing System and we're looking forward to taking some exceptional drivers on track in 2019, across three different categories of racing," he said.
"The Sauber Junior Team programme is a very exciting development in international motorsport. It gives drivers the chance to potentially progress all the way from Formula 4 to Formula 1 with a single team.
"That's a unique model and an exciting prospect for everyone involved."
The F1 team currently has only Tatiana Calderon under its wing as a test driver, while Charouz fields Louis Deletraz and long-term Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco in F2.
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