The Sauber F1 Team presented the Sauber C32-Ferrari to its partners and the media today. Drivers Nico Hülkenberg (DE, 25) and Esteban Gutiérrez (MX, 21) pulled back the covers on the new car at the team’s base in Hinwil, Switzerland. The roll-out of the Sauber C32 will take place during the first winter test at Jerez de la Frontera on 5th February.
“Two thousand and twelve was a very successful year for us,” said Monisha Kaltenborn, looking ahead to the new season. “We not only moved up from seventh to sixth place in the constructors’ standings, but also improved our points total from 44 in 2011 to 126 last season. We have a strong platform in place now, on which we are aiming to build and continue our upward curve.”
The Team Principal is bullish about the prospects for the team’s new driver pairing: “We have had our eye on Nico Hülkenberg for some time and have been impressed by his performances. He is very quick, but, most importantly, he’s also very efficient. He understands how to pick up as many points as possible from a particular race situation. Esteban Gutiérrez is a driver we know very well as a result of a relationship with the team going back several years, and he has already had a number of opportunities to test with our car. Plus, he has always stayed in close contact with our engineers, which has allowed him to learn a lot about Formula One. I’m in no doubt he is now ready to take the final step and put his outstanding talent on display.”
Gutiérrez has been succeeded as test and reserve driver by 21-year-old Dutchman Robin Frijns. “We rate him as an extraordinarily gifted young man, so we decided to give him this opportunity,” explained Kaltenborn. “We will now set about introducing him step by step to life in F1.”
Hülkenberg is entering his third F1 season in a race seat. The German spent 2010 – his rookie year – with Williams and 2012 at the wheel of a Force India car. “The Sauber F1 Team made significant progress last year from 2011,” the German driver recognised. “Now the team is ready to take the next step, and I want to play my part in making that happen. My personal aim is to put in a good, steady performance this season.”
Gutiérrez won the GP3 Championship with something to spare in 2010. He promptly made the move up to GP2 and finished third in last year’s standings. Now the Mexican is focused on the future: “I’m really looking forward to my first season in F1. My long association with the Sauber F1 Team has given me the chance to understand the complexity of F1. But I also realise, of course, that I still have a huge amount to learn. I will be working flat out to adapt to the whole F1 environment as quickly as possible and, if things open up during races, I want to make sure I’m ready to take full advantage.”
Test and reserve driver Frijns (21) spent last year competing in the World Series by Renault – and crowned his season with the championship title. “I’m overjoyed that the Sauber F1 Team has given me this chance. I will do everything I can to support the team as effectively as possible and, at the same time, learn how things work in the professional world of F1,” said the Dutch youngster.
Subbed by AJN.