Emerson Fittipaldi’s son joins newly-formed Sauber Academy
Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Robert Kubica, Charles Leclerc: Sauber have been the launch pad for a number of F1 greats over the years. But the Swiss company have firmed up their focus on helping young drivers by launching the Sauber Academy, with two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi’s son, kart racer Emerson Fittipaldi Jr, one of the first inductees.
While the company already operate the Sauber Karting Team, the Sauber Academy will focus on helping to steer drivers all the way through the junior formulas to F1, guided by Alfa Romeo F1 Team Principal Frederic Vasseur – himself a noted champion of young talent after many years spent overseeing the ART team – and Alfa Romeo’s Sporting Director Beat Zehnder.
Along with Fittipaldi Jr, the first members of the Academy will be reigning German Formula 4 champion – and former Sauber Junior Team member – Theo Pourchaire from France, Sauber Karting Team graduate Dexter Patterson from the United Kingdom and Czech Formula Renault Eurocup racer Petr Ptacek.
Speaking of his son’s admission into the Sauber Academy, 1972 and 1974 F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi said: “When I heard Emmo Jr had been selected by Sauber Academy, I was extremely happy for him.
“He will be guided by Sauber, an organisation with exceptional prestige and experience in motorsport. Emmo Jr is building a strong foundation to help him achieve his dream of becoming an F1 Driver.”
Frédéric Vasseur said: “Investing in young talent has always been a central part of Sauber Motorsport’s racing philosophy. Our Academy is just the latest project aimed at unearthing stars of the future and guiding them through their career, giving them the tools, the education and the resources needed to succeed in the world of motorsport.”
Fittipaldi Jr becomes the latest member of the Fittipaldi dynasty to join a Formula 1 team’s junior programme, with his nephew Enzo Fittipaldi a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, while his other nephew Pietro is currently on the books at Haas as their Test and Reserve Driver – although with Emerson Jr just 13 years old currently, both Enzo and Pietro are actually older than their uncle.