After confirming a few weeks ago that 2012 Force India’s driver – Nico Hulkenberg – would move to their team in 2013, Sauber just announced today that their 2012 reserve driver – Esteban Gutierrez – will be promoted and fill the team 2nd driver place in 2013.
Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, aged 21, drove in GP2 2012 championship for Lotus GP and finished third in final classification. He managed to win three races in this category and grab other 4 podium finishes. In five of the 2012 GP2 races he participated in he recorded the fastest lap.
He had previously won the Formula BMW Europe championship becoming at the age of 17 the youngest Mexican driver to win an international championship. He also won in 2010 the first GP3 Championship the same category where Portuguese António Félix da Costa finished 3rd this year. He is the first GP3 driver to finish inside the top 3 of a GP2 championship.
Nico Hulkenberg drives for Force India in the 2012 Formula 1 Championship and he is currently 12th in general classification with 53 points, one place ahead of his teammate Paul di Resta. Nico Hulkenberg best record in this 2012 Formula season is a 4th place in Spa-Francorchamps Belgian Grand Prix. He also managed to finish inside points in other 9 races. Hulkenberg, as Gutierrez did, also won the GP2 championship (2009) but in this case in his debut year in the category, something that only 2 other drivers – current Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – that curiously will pair up in Mercedes in 2013 – managed to do.
With these changes Kamui Kobayashi (currently one place ahead of Hulkenberg in Formula 1 general classification) is left for the moment without a seat for 2013. The other Sauber 2012 driver, Mexican Sergio Perez, had already signed one month ago a deal with Mclaren for 2013.
So, Sauber will still have a Mexican driver in 2013 but a different one.
See below how Sauber literally cut their car in half to explain how a Formula 1 is made and works!