Sauber confirms Gutiérrez and Sirotkin for 2014 Formula 1 season 21 December, 2013 Esteban Gutierrez will enjoy a second year in F1 with Sauber The Sauber F1 team has announced that Esteban Gutiérrez will stay on for the 2014 season, completing its driver line-up together with Adrian Sutil (confirmed on 13 December by the team). The team’s partnership with Telmex will continue, teenager Sergey Sirotkin will serve as test driver Gutiérrez first tested with the team at Jerez in late 2009. The following year the talented youngster was signed as ‘affiliated driver’, and 2013 saw him in his debut season as a Formula 1 driver, finishing 16th overall. Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said: “We are pleased [that] 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 1. 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 [that] Esteban will be able to use his experiences to gain results, and this will be helped by the fact [that] he is very well acquainted with every member of the race team.” Esteban Gutierrez was the best placed rookie in 2013 Gutiérrez commented, “I am happy to be able to continue as a driver for the Sauber F1 Team. 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 … 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.” Russian Sirotkin joined the team in August 2013 and has been gaining more and more insight into Formula 1 since then. He has spent several days at the factory in Hinwil and has been working with the engineers. In late September he drove a demo-run at the new track in Sochi, which will host the Russian Grand Prix in 2014. In October he tested a 2009 Ferrari at Fiorano. The Sauber F1 Team’s aim is to prepare Sergey for his debut in F1. Sergey Sirotkin “We have been working with Sergey since August, and he has been able to gain more and more insight. Now he is taking the next step towards the top level of motorsport in his new role as a test driver. Our experience of him is as a very focused, calm and talented driver. Now we will continue to support him, including obtaining his super license. Our goal remains to prepare him for a debut in F1,” said Kaltenborn. Sirotkin added, “It’s a big chance for me to become the test driver for the Sauber F1 Team. I will work hard to improve myself and to extract the maximum out of this opportunity. F1 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.” Telmex will stay the team’s premium partner with the logo of the Mexican telecommunications company continuing to have a significant presence on the cars. Carlos Slim with Peter Sauber Carlos Slim Domit, Telmex chairman said, “We at Telmex and Telcel are very proud to continue being part of the Sauber F1 Team to keep consolidating our succesful history in motorsport, particularly in F1 and our driver development programme for Mexican and Latin drivers such as Esteban Gutiérrez, a great young talent, friend and human being.” “We are proud that three years ago Telmex chose the Sauber F1 Team to enter F1 with, and that our partnership has been an instant success. We are very pleased to be able to continue the good cooperation, 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,” concluded Kaltenborn. 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The only news reports that were verified at some point (by German F1 media) were that some payments were made to Sauber right after Sirotkin was confirmed as either! a race driver or! a test driver with Sauber for 2014. The focus at that point was definitely for him to race. I think they pretty quickly discovered that he didn’t yet have what is takes in terms of experience to compete in F1, and also that he wasn’t yet eligible for a superlicence. Perhaps typical Russian bureaucracy was also a contributing factor, but there are enough rumours out there that Poetin wants OAO Rosneft (the world’s largest oil company in terms of output, bigger then Exxon) to sponsor F1 at some point.