BMW Sauber have announced that they will be sponsoring 18-year-old Mexican Esteban GutiÃ¨rrez this season.
GutiÃ¨rrez will attend Grand Prix, observe pit-lane action, listen to radio communications and attend team meetings. He will also be incorporated into BMW Sauber's driver development programme, following the same training regime as Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi, with his physical condition monitored and evaluated in the same way as the team's regular drivers.
Peter Sauber explained the team's decision to recruit GutiÃ¨rrez. “We view this link-up as a kind of sponsorship arrangement. Nowadays you can only give young drivers a very limited amount of help in gaining a foothold in Formula One. With the limited number of testing opportunities, it is important for the teams to have the race drivers in the cars during those sessions. However, the world of Formula One is so complex that you can learn a great deal just by watching and listening to what's going on. That's the opportunity we're giving Esteban. And we will also help him to get himself in F1-trim physically.”
Esteban GutiÃ¨rrez is grateful for the chance to be part of a Formula 1 team. “I felt very comfortable at the young driver test at Jerez in December and enjoyed every second, but I also saw that I still have a lot to learn before I'm ready to be a good Formula One driver. Experience behind the wheel is, of course, the most important thing, but I'm under no illusions. I'm happy that the BMW Sauber F1 Team has shown so much confidence in me by giving me the chance to look behind the scenes and learn about the sport. And at the same time, I will be training hard with an instructor, which will definitely help me achieve my goals in the GP3 series.”
GutiÃ¨rrez will also be in the line up for the ART Grand Prix Team in the new GP3 race series this season. Seven of the eight GP3 races in 2010 will take place on the Formula One support programme.