Sauber F1 hopeful Gutierrez to test in Abu Dhabi

Esteban Gutierrez (MEX), Sauber Test & Reserve Driver. Sauber C31 Studio Images, Hinwil, Switzerland, 6 February 2012.Oct.18 (Reuters) Sauber will run Mexican Formula One prospect Esteban Gutierrez in a young driver test in Abu Dhabi next month, the Swiss team said on Thursday.

The 21-year-old is already the team’s test and reserve driver and is tipped as a likely candidate to fill the shoes of compatriot Sergio Perez, who is joining McLaren as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement next season.

Sauber have a number of important Mexican sponsors and Monterrey-born Gutierrez is also backed by the country’s telecomms giant Telmex within the same Escuderia Telmex line-up as Perez.

The test will be Gutierrez’s fourth for Sauber since 2009 and he will be joined in Abu Dhabi by 21-year-old Dutchman Robin Frijns. The test runs from Nov. 6 to 8.

Sauber have taken four podium finishes this season and the team have the most desirable remaining vacancy, and the possibility of two seats, now that teams above them in the F1 pecking order have settled their line-ups.

The team’s other current race driver is Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi, whose future remains uncertain despite him finishing third at his home grand prix earlier this month.

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