Sergey Sirotkin will rack up his first serious miles in a Formula One car, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn revealed, with the Russian set to take part in a test session on the Monday after the Korean Grand Prix as the Swiss team continues to prepare the youngster for his racing debut next year.
Sirotkin – currently competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 series — will take to the Fiorano circuit in Italy in a 2009 Ferrari, Kaltenborn said, with the test giving the team its first opportunity to evaluate how he copes with the demands of a Formula One car.
“Clearly what we can see is very positive feedback from the engineers,” Kaltenborn said in an interview over the Korean Grand Prix weekend.
“… He brings the right attitude along, he listens a lot, he learns very quickly. But all this can say nothing about how he will be on the track.”
“The first test is on Monday and then we will start seeing how he is on the track and how he can adapt,” Kaltenborn said.
The 18-year-old Sirotkin will become the youngest ever Formula One driver when he makes his debut next season, as Sauber keep up their end of the bargain under a deal the Swiss squad struck with a group of Russian investors who threw the outfit a financial lifeline.
However Sirotkin — fresh from a Formula One demo run in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi — will need to secure a superlicense before he is allowed to drive on a Grand Prix weekend, and the test will go some way towards satisfying that requirement.
As for the choice of car being used at Monday’s test, Kaltenborn had already clarified the logic behind not using a Sauber when she spoke to reporters at the last race in Singapore.
“It’s really a question of practicalities,” Kaltenborn said at the time. “It’s the people you need, you have to put more from your company into it and when our people are somewhere in the world travelling – we also have Sochi coming up in between where people have to go — so it gets quite a lot…”
Images courtesy of Sauber Motorsport AG