Sauber 2013 driver line-up appears confirmed

Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday 16 March 2012.Oct.22 (GMM) Sauber appears set for an all-new driver lineup for 2013, with the Swiss team’s current Mexican driver, Sergio Perez, headed for McLaren after November’s Interlagos finale.

It is expected that, with the Telmex sponsorship dollars staying at Sauber in 2013, the team will simply promote Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez, 21, to replace him.

The other 2012 incumbent, Kamui Kobayashi, has revealed he must urgently find sponsors if he wants to stay at Sauber next year.

But it is now widely believed that Sauber has in fact already signed German Nico Hulkenberg to move from Force India to the Hinwil based team in 2013.

The Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo said that Luiz Razia, the 2012 GP2 runner-up, has been in talks with Force India and Marussia about his F1 debut next year.

“We talked with Sauber as well,” the 23-year-old Brazilian is quoted “but in recent days they’ve changed their stance, saying it’s no longer possible.

“This tells me they have decided their two drivers,” added Razia.

Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn won’t confirm that.

“We don’t want to give constant updates about the direction we are going in,” she said on Swiss television Schweizer Fernsehen.

But former Toro Rosso racer Sebastien Buemi said it is “too bad” thatthe door to Sauber for 2013 now appears closed.

“But the door could be open at Force India,” the Swiss is quoted by Blick newspaper.

O Estado de S.Paulo, however, said that the line of candidates to pair with Paul di Resta at Force India next year is long, including Bruno Senna, Kobayashi, Charles Pic, Jules Bianchi, Giedo van der Garde and possibly even Pastor Maldonado.

Subbed by AJN.