While Theo Pourchaire waved happily from the podium after being crowned the new ADAC Formula 4 champion, the other drivers from US Racing CHRS were also celebrating in the pits. Achieving the max has now become a habit for the team from Kerpen. After enjoying a perfect and historic season in the ADAC High-Speed Academy last year, the outfit managed by ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher and Gerhard Ungar have done it again in 2019, making a clean sweep of drivers' title, team and Rookie championships. US Racing CHRS have been the ones to beat all season, giving substance to their desire to be the first port of call for great motor racing talents.
"We would never have imagined in our wildest dreams that we would pull it off, but we're mega pleased," said Ralf Schumacher. "You must always try to be consistent and make the best of things - you don't start the season assuming that things will go your way again," added Gerhard Ungar proudly as his drivers received their numerous trophies at the championship celebrations.
The team built effortlessly this year on successful foundations from previous years. US Racing CHRS have always been a part of ADAC Formula 4 ever since its inception in 2015 but competed under a different name initially. Ungar has been an integral part of the team right from its beginnings, having guided the team before when it was set up differently.
Ralf Schumacher and Ungar know each other from their time together in the DTM and joined forces for the 2016 season. They combined their energies and re-established the team as US Racing, achieving fourth place in the team standings and fifth place in the Rookie stakes with newcomer, Lirim Zendeli, who later came fourth in the overall standings in 2017. Last year, US Racing began working with Czech team, Charouz Racing System, and changed their name yet again to US Racing CHRS. Zendeli then became champion in what was a total triumph. He has continued his career this year, racing with Sauber's Junior team.
The numbers speak for themselves. Seven of the 20 races have been won by drivers from the outfit run by Schumacher and Ungar. All their four drivers finished in the Top Six. The highlight of the season for them was their home fixture at the Nürburgring where new champion Pourchaire (16, France) and Rookie champion Roman Stanek (15, Czech Republic) gave the team three victories.
"It feels just brilliant to have won the championship. And for the team too - many thanks to the team for their great support throughout the year," Pourchaire also knew exactly who he needed to thank.
Having a very evenly-matched crew of drivers was the key to success. The squad of four - Pourchaire, Stanek, Arthur Leclerc (18, Monaco) and Alessandro Ghiretti (17, France) - proved to be not only fast but also consistent. Dips in performance seldom happened, instead all four excelled at regularly finishing in the points. In the team competition, for which two drivers per team have to be nominated before the start of the weekend, the outfit found themselves spoilt for choice.
"We discuss first what we should do, but basically, it was pretty easy," said Ungar: "We have a Rookie in the squad, Roman Stanek. We have to give him a little more time, but he did really well in the overall standings, finishing fourth overall. Ultimately, we relied on the services of our more experienced drivers, Theo Pourchaire and Arthur Leclerc mainly."
However, US Racing are also represented in motorsport aside from the ADAC Formula 4. In the Formula Regional European Championship, the team field David Schumacher, who won the Rookie classification in the ADAC Formula 4 last year. The son of Team Principal Ralf Schumacher has clinched three victories in the Formula 3 series. At Sochi, Schumacher Junior made his FIA Formula 3 debut, coming into direct contact with Formula 1.
Where the stars of the 2019 ADAC Formula 4 will head next has yet to be decided, but Ungar has some advice for his drivers. "Personally, I always think that drivers should proceed with caution as regards their future development. The FIA Formula 3 is a very strong series, so I think it would be more beneficial for drivers to race somewhere else first," he said. US Racing CHRS expect to be represented again next year in the German junior series but are not sure at this stage who will follow in the footsteps of Pourchaire & Co.