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Gutierrez promoted to Sauber reserve driver
Newly-crowned GP3 champion Esteban Gutierrez has been made Sauber's official test and reserve driver for the rest of the season.
Gutierrez has been affiliated with the team all season after driving last year's BMW Sauber at the young drivers' test. The 19-year-old's next outing in a Sauber will be at the end of season test at Abu Dhabi, where the teams will get their hands on the 2011 Pirelli tyres for the first time.
"Esteban is extremely mature for his age, and it has been a great pleasure to have him with us a great deal of the time this year as an affiliated driver," said team principal Peter Sauber. "The team was rooting for him during his intelligent fighting performances in the GP3 Series. We are confident he will continue to develop strongly. With his modest manner and keen desire to learn, he has also made himself very popular among the team."
Gutierrez said his time spent in team briefings and in the garage this year had prepared him for the step up to official reserve driver.
"I learnt a great deal about the professionalism and practical procedures in the Formula One team," he said. "Plus, in early September I had an opportunity to attend the team's fitness camp with the two team drivers. Formula One is my ambition, and I'm really grateful to Peter Sauber for his confidence in me and my ability."
Sauber announced last week that Nick Heidfeld would be replacing Pedro de la Rosa from the Singapore Grand Prix onwards.