“It is ambitious, maybe a bit risky, but it’s not my decision.” Hulkenberg said.
When asked how he felt about the idea of an 18 year old racing in Formula One, he commented that he wasn’t ready for it at that age, “Me, I wasn’t ready for Formula 1 at that point.”.
As part of a deal between Sauber and one of their Russian partners, the National Institute of Aviation Technologies, 17 year old Sirotkin (who turns 18 next week) will join the team with a view to racing for them next year.
Sirotkin is currently racing in the Renault 3.5 Series and is in ninth place with 46 points, and due to the testing ban Hulkenberg feels there is little else the Russian driver could do to prepare for F1.
“He will keep on racing in Formula Renault [3.5], beyond that he could do lots of simulator running, but that isn’t real life, and Sauber does not have a simulator so that is not an option”.
Should Sirotkin race for Sauber next year, he will be the youngest driver to take ever part in an F1 race. The current record holder is ex-Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari who was 19 years and 125 days old when he entered the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.
At the moment the young Russian does not hold a Super License, which means he cannot test or take part in practice sessions for the Hinwil based team.
If he is to race for the team next year he will need to either win the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, or the team can argue his case and insist that he has shown he has the ability to race single seater cars.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic