Date: 23rd December 2013 at 8:16am
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Sauber have retained Mexican Esteban Gutierrez for next season.

The decision to keep hold of the 22-year-old completes their driver line-up for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship, with Adrian Sutil completing his switch from Force India to Sauber last week.

‘Last season he [Gutierrez] experienced first hand how hard it can be for a rookie to step into Formula 1, Nevertheless, throughout the season he improved significantly in qualifying as well as in the races and finished the year as the best rookie in the drivers’ championship. Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn told the BBC.

‘Often the results didn’t fully reflect his performances. I am confident Esteban will be able to use his experiences to gain results.’

Sauber had been linked with a number of drivers for next season.

It seemed that throughout the 2013 season the team had been convinced that Nico Hulkenberg would only be with the team for a single season, with the German linked with moves to Ferrari and Lotus before settling for a return to Force India.

Sauber had been heavily linked with naming a Russian driver due to their investment deal with Russian companies.

In July reports emerged that the team had been saved from possible financial ruin thanks to a deal with three Russian companies.

The Russian based Investment Co-operation International Fund, the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation and the National Institute of Aviation Technologies [NIAT] were all reported to have signed deals with the team.

19-year-old Russian Sergey Sirotkin who had previously raced in Formula Renault 3.5 had been linked to a seat due too the deals, however he has had to settle for a place as reserve team driver.

‘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 licence. Our goal remains to prepare him for a debut in Formula 1.’
Kaltenborn added.

Naming Esteban Gutierrez gives the team some continuity heading into the new season of mass changes, but also provides a good platform to continue the key sponsorship agreement with Mexican telecommunications company Telemex.

‘It was a steep learning curve last season, but by working closely with the team I was able to improve continuously. It will be my fourth year with the team, the second as a racing driver, and I feel comfortable in taking the next step.’ Gutierrez said.