Sauber retain Gutierrez, with Sirotkin as tester

21 Dec 2013

Sauber have announced that Esteban Gutierrez will stay on for the 2014 season, completing the team’s race line-up together with Adrian Sutil. Russia’s Sergey Sirotkin - previously tipped for a race seat - will serve as test driver.

Gutierrez first tested with Sauber at Jerez in late 2009. The Mexican was signed as ‘affiliated driver’, and 2013 saw him in his debut season as a Formula One driver finishing 16th as the best rookie in the drivers’ championship.

“I am happy to be able to continue as a driver for the Sauber F1 Team,” said Gutierrez. “It was a steep learning curve last season, but by working closely with the team I was able to improve continuously. It will be my fourth year with the team, the second as a racing driver, and I feel comfortable in taking the next step. The technical challenges in 2014 will be massive. Therefore it will be even more important to know well the people you are working with. I will do my very best to improve even more and support the team the best way I can.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal, commented: “We are pleased Esteban will drive for us in 2014, because we believe he is a talented young racing driver. Last season he experienced first hand how hard it can be for a rookie to step into Formula One. Nevertheless, throughout the season he improved significantly in qualifying as well as in the races and finished the year as the best rookie in the drivers’ championship. Often the results didn’t fully reflect his performances. I am confident Esteban will be able to use his experiences to gain results, and this will be helped by the fact he is very well acquainted with every member of the race team.”

Sirotkin, meanwhile, joined Sauber in August 2013 and has been gaining more insight into Formula One racing since then. He has spent several days at the team’s factory in Hinwil and has been working with the engineers. In late September the 18-year-old drove a demo run at the new track in Sochi, which will host the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in 2014. In October he tested a 2009 Ferrari at Fiorano and Sauber say their aim remains to prepare Sirotkin for his Formula One debut.

“It’s a big chance for me to become the test driver for the Sauber F1 Team,” said Sirotkin. “I will work hard to improve myself and to extract the maximum out of this opportunity. Formula One is very complex, so it is important to get an opportunity like this. My main focus next year, however, will be the World Series by Renault, which is very competitive. This will give me the chance to prepare even better in order to be ready for the next big step.”

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