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F1: Gutierrez stays, Kobayashi returns?

2013-12-23 08:03

STAYING PUT: Mexican Esteban Gutierrez has secured his seat at Sauber for 2014.Image: AFP

LONDON, England - Esteban Gutierrez and his Telmex backing are staying at Sauber in 2014.

With Adrian Sutil already signed, Gutierrez completes the team's driver line-up for 2014, even though it was earlier believed Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin was a key part of a crucial investment deal.

SEAT SHUFFLE

Sirotkin will be a test driver in 2014, Sauber announced.

Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said: "Now we will continue to support him, including obtaining his super license. Our goal remains to prepare him for a debut in Formula 1."

Sauber's announcements means that the only race cockpit vacancies on the 2014 grid are now with Marussia (one seat) and Caterham (two).

KOBAYASHI TO RETURN

Former Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi was spotted at Caterham's factory earlier in December 2013.

Michael Schmidt, the respected correspondent for Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, said the Japanese as well as rookie Marcus Ericsson are on pole position for the race seats.

Schmidt said: "GP2 driver Ericsson has the double (million) figure backing of a Swedish global company and Kobayashi's many fans are pledging the equivalent of R62.1-million towards his F1 return."

He said Jaime Alguersuari and Paul di Resta have also been connected to Caterham for 2014.

The full house at Caterham could be bad news for Max Chilton, who was hoping to keep his Marussia seat.

Schmidt said 2013 Caterham refugees Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic could buy their way into that seat, while Chilton's backers might be looking to switch their sponsorship focus to football - despite the powerful influence at the insurance giant Aon of his father.
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