Sergio Perez will sit out the Friday morning practice session in India due to the after effects of a cold, although he is scheduled to drive the rest of the weekend.
Perez was unwell on Friday, but tweeted on Friday morning in Spanish “Thank you all x worrying, had a fever yesterday but today I am well prepared for the weekend! It was a team decision” – he later tweeted in English a slightly different message, “Thanks to all I’m ready to do the weekend after practice 1..The team decide not to do practice 1 with me, looking forward for a good weekend.”
Sauber’s announcement said simply,
“Due to the fact Sauber F1 Team race driver Sergio Pérez (Mexico, 22) is unwell, the Sauber F1 Team has decided to let its reserve driver Esteban Gutiérrez (Mexico, 21) jump into the car for the first free practice session ahead of the Indian Grand Prix on Friday. This should help Sergio’s speedy recovery so he is able to drive for the remainder of the weekend.”
It doesn’t really matter in the end whether Perez is well or unwell this morning, after all there is only a two and a half hour gap between the first and second sessions.
It makes sense for Sauber to capitalise on this opportunity to give 21 year old Gutierrez a run. He is in contention for Perez’ seat next season as Perez is leaving the team to join McLaren. Sauber’s Mexican backing from Carlos Slim and Telmex is set to stay with the team, but it would be desirable for Gutierrez to be in one of the race seats. Nico Hulkenberg is widely tipped to get the other Sauber seat, leaving Kobayashi on the sidelines.
Last year Sauber felt he wasn’t ready for F1, but after a second season in GP2 in which he won three races with the Lotus ART Team, Gutierrez has a great chance today to show what he can do.