23.11.12

Gutierrez lands second Sauber seat

Mexican test driver joins Nico Hulkenberg at Swiss squad as Kamui Kobayashi is left out in the cold.

As expected, Esteban Gutierrez will race for Sauber next season, replacing McLaren bound Sergio Pérez I the team alongside recent signing Nico Hulkenberg.

Nico Hulkenberg will be a good reference point for me and will push me to adapt quickly to F1 competition.
Esteban Gutierrez

The signing means Kamui Kobayashi has failed in his bid to find the funding necessary to retain his seat in his native Japan.

"This is the start of the real challenge to succeed at the pinnacle of motor sport,” said Gutierrez. “Nico Hulkenberg 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.’

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn added: "Esteban has great talent and now he's ready to take the leap. We are in no doubt that we have a strong driver pairing in place for the 2013 season."

Commenting on Kobayashi’s exit in Friday afternoon’s official FIA press conference Kaltenborn said: “To take up a new driver is always a strategic decision where many factors play a role. Kamui has been with us for the last three years. He’s a very good driver, he is an excellent team player and actually a very fine human being so it’s tough to take such a decision.

“I think if a driver deserves to be in Formula One he’s definitely one of them and I hope he can get support from Japanese companies – because Japan is an important market for Formula One – and stay in the sport,” she concluded.

As well as elevating Gutierrez to a race seat Sauber also announced that 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns will become the team’s test driver.