Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin has been confirmed as Sauber F1 Team’s test driver for the 2014 Formula One season after it was confirmed in the early hours of Saturday morning that Esteban Gutierrez would enjoy a second season with the Swiss team alongside Adrian Sutil.
Sirotkin had been in line to become the youngest ever full-time F1 driver in 2014 after a group of Russian companies looked to invest in Sauber and secure him a seat. However, with compatriot Daniil Kvyat getting a seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso, the novelty of having a home driver at Sochi in the autumn of 2014 had worn off for these companies, meaning that Sirotkin was no longer a serious consideration for the team. Furthermore, his inexperience meant that many were surprised that he was even an option for the team, but a compromise appears to have been reached following his appointment as test driver.
“It’s a big chance for me to become the test driver for the Sauber F1 Team,” Sirotkin said. “I will work hard to improve myself and to extract the maximum out of this opportunity. Formula One 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.”
Sirotkin is thought to be joining Fortec in the feeder series next season following a test for the team at Motorland Aragon, but he will balance this campaign with testing duties for the Swiss team.
“We have been working with Sergey since August, and he has been able to gain more and more insight into Formula One,” team principal Monisha Kaltenborn explained. “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 Formula One.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.