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BMW Sauber to support young driver Esteban Gutierrez 26 Feb 2010

Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) BMW Sauber F1 Team F1.09 Formula One Young Driver Testing, 1-3 December 2009, Jerez Circuit, Spain. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) BMW Sauber F1 Team F1.09 Formula One Young Driver Testing, 1-3 December 2009, Jerez Circuit, Spain.

BMW Sauber announced on Friday that they will support young driver Esteban Gutierrez this season. Eighteen year-old Gutierrez will attend a number of Grands Prix and will be incorporated into the team's driver development programme, which means he’ll follow the same training regime as race drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi.

The Mexican enjoyed his first taste of Formula One power last year with BMW Sauber at December’s young driver test. He won the 2008 Formula BMW Europe championship, after winning seven races, and in 2009 competed in British and European Formula Three. This year he will line up for ART in the new GP3 series.

“We view this link-up as a kind of sponsorship arrangement," explained team principal Peter Sauber. "Nowadays you can only give young drivers a very limited amount of help in gaining a foothold in Formula One. With the limited number of testing opportunities, it is important for the teams to have the race drivers in the cars during those sessions.

“However, the world of Formula One is so complex that you can learn a great deal just by watching and listening to what's going on. That's the opportunity we're giving Esteban. And we will also help him to get himself in F1-trim physically."

Gutierrez added: "I felt very comfortable at the young driver test at Jerez in December and enjoyed every second, but I also saw that I still have a lot to learn before I'm ready to be a good Formula One driver. Experience behind the wheel is, of course, the most important thing, but I'm under no illusions.

"I'm happy that the BMW Sauber F1 Team has shown so much confidence in me by giving me the chance to look behind the scenes and learn about the sport. And at the same time, I will be training hard with an instructor, which will definitely help me achieve my goals in the GP3 series."