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Some risk in 2013 line-up - Kaltenborn

ESPN Staff
November 23, 2012 « De la Rosa focusing on job amid HRT uncertainty | Weekend 'unknown' for Vettel »
Monisha Kaltenborn: "We've been through this situation in our team history quite often" © Sutton Images

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn says there is an element of risk in her team's 2013 driver line-up after Esteban Gutierrez was confirmed as Nico Hulkenberg's team-mate for next year.

With Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi leaving the team, Sauber will have an all-new race driver line-up with Gutierrez arriving as a rookie after three years understudying as reserve driver. He has had a mixed season in GP2, with several on-track errors, but Kaltenborn believes he is now ready for Formula One.

"There's always a risk," she said. "We've been through this situation in our team history quite often and a recent example of it is with Sergio [Perez] where we also knew there was a risk. But with Esteban the situation is maybe a little bit different because he has been associated with the team for longer, he's been part of the team, he's been integrated, especially this year, much more in to how the team works in the technical side. But you always have a risk and for us hopefully we will have the right environment to show how good he is."

Kaltenborn believes Gutierrez's youth will be balanced out by the more experienced head of Hulkenberg, who will join his third different team in his three years as a race driver in F1.

"For us it is a strong line-up to enter the next season," she added. "We will have one experienced driver with Nico in his third season and we have been very impressed with his performance. If he gets the opportunity he takes it and he brings the points home, so he's been very efficient. That's been a weakness that we've not had that consistency and made use of all the chances we've had. We think we can improve and he's the right one for that. With Esteban, we have a history of bringing talents into the sport and he is one we would like to see with our team and we have had the target to prepare his way into the sport."

However, Kaltenborn said Gutierrez would have to learn from the errors he made in GP2 this year.

"We've seen some very good performances and he's made some mistakes. The most important thing for him will be to learn from these mistakes. He knows how the team works and we will hopefully have a good car next year, he's part of all that development, and like Sergio we have to provide him that environment. We saw how quickly it can go and hopefully we'll manage something similar with him."

Pushed on why Kobayashi had been replaced at the team, Kaltenborn said Sauber was hoping to be more consistent going forward, but she also praised the Japanese driver for his help in developing the giant-beating C31.

"There have been so many ups and downs for him and the team," she said. "The team lacked that consistency this year, otherwise we would have had a different position in the constructors' championship. So I think there is still the potential there and I really hope he can get the chance to show that, because he is a good driver. And the result of the development of the car in the winter months has a lot to do with his input as well. So it's very valuable what he gave us."

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