On Friday morning in Brazil two more seats on the F1 grid for 2013 were resolved as Sauber confirmed the news which Sergio Perez let slip, that fellow Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, 21, would drive alongside Nico Hulkenberg.
This leaves Kamui Kobayashi out on a limb.
Meanwhile Caterham has hired 22 year old Charles Pic from Marussia F1 Team. The Frenchman has done a good job this year up against Timo Glock and also comes with a budget and strong French support. As Caterham strengthens its links with Renault, developing road cars and closer ties, Pic fits well in the picture.
Sauber also announced Robin Frijns as test and development driver. He and Gutierrez impressed during the recent Young Guns test at Abu Dhabi.
The feeling in the paddock is that Giedo van der Garde will get the second Caterham seat and Max Chilton will replace Pic at Marussia.
This leaves the second Force India seat alongside Paul di Resta as the focus of interest. Jaime Alguersuari is the obvious choice, having done thousands of kilometres of Pirelli tyre development work for 2013, but Adrian Sutil has forced himself into the reckoning. The German was dropped at the end of 2011 after his conviction for wounding Lotus F1’s Eric Lux in a nightclub brawl in Shanghai.
Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn said, “Esteban has already been part of the team for a long time and we have followed his career very closely,” said Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “In 2010 we signed him up as an affiliated driver, and in 2011 and 2012 he was our test and reserve driver. We mapped out his path to Formula One step by step. Esteban has great talent and now he’s ready to take the leap. We are in no doubt we have a strong driver pairing in place for the 2013 season with Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez.”