Christian, 13, joins former karting boss of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg
Singaporean junior racer Christian Ho has been recruited by Sauber Karting Team after being scouted by team principal Dino Chiesa, who also kick-started the karting careers of Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Sauber Karting Team, which was launched in March, was created in conjunction with Italian kart manufacturer, Kart Republic, which is owned and managed by Chiesa.
As part of the Sauber motorsport group which also manages the Alfa Romeo F1 team, the new karting team was formed to nurture young top-level racers and provide a path of progression from karting to Formula One.
Ho, 13, made his debut for Sauber Karting Team at last week's first round of the WSK Open Cup, a karting series based in Italy which attracts top drivers from around the world. He finished fifth at the South Garda karting circuit in Lonato, and will look forward to racing the final round in the series in Castelletto di Branduzz.
“It's been a positive first weekend for me with the Sauber Karting Team. I gradually built my confidence with the team and the chassis during free practice and made it to qualify second overall on Friday (Oct 25).
"I have to say I'm really happy with the Kart Republic chassis. It has a lot of grip, so it feels really good to drive, and also the IAME engine feels very good. I'm happy to be part of this team. Dino and Richard helped me a lot this weekend, so I think we have good potential for the future,” said Ho after his first race with the team from Oct 25-27 in Lonato.
Chiesa said: “We started working with some new drivers from this weekend, also integrating OKJ in our Sauber programme, with driver Christian Ho.
"They all had a very good weekend, and Ho did great from qualifying, proving we have good potential for next year. We feel we raised our level up in OKJ.”
Ho has had a breakthrough year where he finished as vice-champion of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Karting Academy Trophy and DKM German Karting Series. He is also the first Asian to finish in the top three of these two championship series.
Joining Sauber has also made him become the first Singaporean to be in a Formula One-affiliated team racing programme.