Czech racing driver Petr Ptacek has taken a big step towards realising his Formula One dream after joining the Sauber Academy – a junior driver development programme run by Sauber Motorsport, the team that fields the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN entry in F1.
In being recruited to the programme, 17-year-old Petr has been recognised as one of junior motorsport’s most promising talents. The Sauber Academy will provide him with all the training that is necessary to become an F1 driver.
Despite only embarking on his single-seater career in 2018, Petr has impressed motorsport’s talent spotters. He dominated the Italian F4 Rookie Cup that year and then became a podium finisher in the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup.
He finished P5 in the New Zealand-based Toyota Racing Series at the beginning of this year and is hoping to record further Formula Renault Eurocup success later in 2020 when he lines up with the championship-winning R-ace GP squad.
“Joining a driver development programme that’s run by an organisation with more than 25 years of experience in F1 is a massive moment in my career,” Petr said. “If you want to make it to the top in motorsport, you need the right guidance and support. I’m extremely grateful that Sauber Motorsport has recognised the potential in me and want to invest in my future.”
Sauber Motorsport has a first-class reputation for developing the skills of junior racing drivers, many of whom have gone on to race with great distinction in F1.
The Sauber Academy will give Petr access to a raft of professional resources that will support his F1-focussed development. Education modules will include mental and physical training, media training, simulator training and technical workshops with Sauber engineers. He will also take part in a series of off-season training camps.
“From the first moment I drove a kart, my ambition has always been to push towards Formula One and to work hard every single day,” Petr explained. “Being inducted into the Sauber Academy makes me even more determined to maximise my potential. This is the beginning of an exciting journey for me and I’m looking forward to taking my development and results to the next level – both on and off the track.”
Petr’s development within the Sauber Academy will be overseen by Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team principal and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG Frédéric Vasseur and Sauber Motorsport sporting director, Beat Zehnder.
Frédéric Vasseur said: “Investing in young talent has always been a central part of Sauber Motorsport’s racing philosophy and we believe Petr fits our driver profile perfectly. He has already shown a lot of promise for the future and we hope that giving him the tools, the education and the resources our Academy can offer will help him succeed on the way to Formula One.”
Beat Zehnder said: “Over the years I have seen many young drivers make their debut at the top of motorsport and Petr reminds me of some of them in his commitment, ability and determination. Being part of the Academy will enable him to further develop his skills and hopefully grow into a fully-rounded driver able to compete at the very top level of our sport.”