It has finally been confirmed that Sauber have hired Esteban Gutierrez to partner Nico Hulkenberg for their 2013 campaign. The team which gave Sergio Perez his break in Formula One have now scooped up his fellow Mexican, with considerable persuasion from Carlos Slim, the world’s new richest man.
“Esteban has already been part of the team for a long time and we have followed his career very closely,” said team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “In 2010 we signed him up as an affiliated driver, and in 2011 and 2012 he was our test and reserve driver. We mapped out his path to Formula One step by step. Esteban has great talent and now he’s ready to take the leap. We are in no doubt we have a strong driver pairing in place for the 2013 season with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez.”
Meanwhile, Gutierrez had this to say “After three years working with Sauber I feel very grateful for all the attention I have received from everyone in the team and for all their input, which has allowed me to develop into a Formula One driver in a very progressive way,” commented Gutierrez. “Now, after experiencing other categories of racing as an introduction to Formula One, this is the start of the real challenge to succeed at the pinnacle of motor sport.
“The support from my family, as well as from my sponsors, has been a key factor in getting there and I am very grateful to everyone who has been involved in our project. It will be a great pleasure to be racing in the same team as an experienced driver like Nico Hulkenberg. He will be a good reference point for me and will push me to adapt quickly to F1 competition so we can develop the car together with the team in the best way.”
This decision has given Kamui Kobayashi, who has been at the team for three years, the boot. The Jap came onto Twitter last night to plead for fan support with a ‘Donate’ button displayed. Marussia and Force India are the only two teams with a seat available now, except for HRT to are expected to breathe it’s final laboured breath sometime over the winter break.