Esteban Gutierrez will make his F1 race debut with Sauber in 2013, the team have confirmed.
Gutierrez has spent the last two years in GP2, finishing third in the series this year.
He will partner Nico Hulkenberg at the team, giving Sauber an all-new driver line-up for 2013.
Sauber also confirmed Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns will take over from Gutierrez as the team’s test and reserve driver.
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said: “Esteban has already been part of the team for a long time and we have followed his career very closely.
“In 2010 we signed him up as an affiliated driver, and in 2011 and 2012 he was our test and reserve driver. We mapped out his path to Formula One step by step. Esteban has great talent and now he’s ready to take the leap. We are in no doubt we have a strong driver pairing in place for the 2013 season with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez.”
Outgoing Sauber driver Sergio Perez accidentally revealed yesterday Gutierrez would be joining the team.
“After three years working with Sauber I feel very grateful for all the attention I have received from everyone in the team and for all their input, which has allowed me to develop into a Formula One driver in a very progressive way,” said Gutierrez.
“Now, after experiencing other categories of racing as an introduction to Formula One, this is the start of the real challenge to succeed at the pinnacle of motor sport. The support from my family, as well as from my sponsors, has been a key factor in getting there and I am very grateful to everyone who has been involved in our project.
“It will be a great pleasure to be racing in the same team as an experienced driver like Nico Hulkenberg. He 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 with the team in the best way.”
New test driver Frijns said: “I would like to thank Monisha Kaltenborn and Peter Sauber for their belief and trust in me by signing me to join their team as a test and reserve driver.”
“With this opportunity I will try to help the team as much as possible and get the chance to learn how Formula 1 works in an extremely professional environment. I am already very much looking forward to getting the 2013 season started and working together with the team.”
Kaltenborn said: “Monitoring Robin’s racing career makes it easy to spot his potential. This was the reason we gave him the chance to drive the Sauber C31-Ferrari at the Young Driver Days in Abu Dhabi. He managed this very well.
“We will now carefully guide him to Formula One. This is a long way, but Robin has got the skills to do that successfully.”
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