Sauber have confirmed their line-up for the 2014 season. Esteban Gutierrez, who debuted with the team this season, will partner Adrian Sutil. Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin will be the team’s test driver.
Gutierrez’s relationship with Sauber started back in 2009 when he tested for them. This year he drove alongside Nico Hulkenberg and scored six points, finishing 16th in the championship.
“I am happy to be able to continue as a driver for Sauber,” the Mexican driver said. “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.”
Sirotkin, who joined the team in August of this year, has been working towards obtaining his superlicence. He drove at a demo at the Sochi track which will host the Russian Grand Prix in 2014 as well as testing a 2009 Ferrari at Fiorano.
“It’s a big chance for me to become the test driver for the Sauber F1 team,” he said. “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.”
Sirotkin will be racing in World Series by Renault this year. “This will give me the chance to prepare even better in order to be ready for the next big step.”
Sauber’s Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn expressed her happiness at both signings. “We are pleased Esteban will drive for us in 2014,” she said. “We believe he is a talented young 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,” she continued. “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.”
Sauber are hoping that Sirotkin’s test driver role will prepare him for the next step. “We have been working with Sergey since August, and he has been able to gain more and more insight into Formula One,” she said. “Now he is taking the next step towards the top level of motorsport. Our experience of him is as a very focused, calm and talented driver. Now we will continue to support him, including obtaining his super licence. Our goal remains to prepare him for Formula One.”
Gutierrez concluded that the challenges next year will be “massive”. “It will be even more important to know well the people you are working with,” he added. “I will do my very best to improve even more and support the team the best way I can.”
As well as their drivers, Sauber have confirmed that their relationship with Mexican telecommunications corporation Telmex will also continue. “We at Telmex and Telcel are very proud to continue being part of the Sauber F1 Team,” Telmex Chairman Carlos Slim said. “Especially to keep consolidating our successful history in motorsport, particularly in Formula One and our driver development programme for Mexican and Latin drivers such as Esteban Guiterrez, a great young talent, friend and human being.”
“We are proud that three years ago Telmex chose the Sauber F1 Team to enter Formula One with,” Kaltenborn added. “Our partnership has been an instant success. We are very pleased to be able to continue the good co-operation, and think this is also a very good fit looking at a possible Grand Prix in Mexico. Telmex has been involved on different levels of motorsport for a number of years in various categories. We are pleased to be able to contribute to its vision on the top level of motorsports, and we are looking forward to further develop and strengthen our partnership with the corporation.”