Abu Dhabi: The Sauber team will wait till an appropriate moment to make its second driver known for the 2013 season. “The situation [for a second driver] is open as we have not announced the second name as yet,” team principal Monisha Kaltenborn told the media here.
“This decision will surely be made during this season itself,” she promised.
There has been a lot of speculation over the choice of a second driver at the Switzerland-based team after Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was confirmed as the first one earlier this week. The 25-year-old German has won the GP2 Series in 2009 and made his F1 debut with the Williams F1 Team the following year capturing pole position in his maiden year. Going into the Abu Dhabi race, Hulkenberg is placed 12th in the drivers’ world championship with 49 points with his best effort being a fourth position at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
Sauber’s second driver Kamui Kobayashi, meanwhile, seems to be losing his place after a withdrawal of his sponsors from Japan. Team principal Kaltenborn, however, is in no hurry about the second driver: “We know Kamui very well. We know his qualities and we know his strengths and we will definitely consider all that when we are making our decision,” she said.
“We will not pinpoint just one incident to make our decision and neither will we look at a bad race to make the deciison. We know him so much more and he is an absolute team player. We have seen him all these years and he has contributed in the progress of the car especially during the winter time. So when we have our decision we will communicate the same,” she added.
It is widely believed that with the Telmex sponsorship staying on with Sauber in 2013, the team will simply promote Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez as a replacement. The Mexican factor, it seems, has Kaltenborn excited about the penultimate round of the championship to be held in Austin, Texas later this month.
“In keeping with the fact that F1 is a global sport, being present in the US market is absolutely the right step and it is going to be like a home race for both our Mexican drivers due to the large number of Mexicans in the US. It will be a great race for us and we hope we can add up to the atmosphere with a better performance on the track,” Kaltenborn hoped.