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Guttierez in at Sauber

November 23, 2012 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Esteban Gutierrez will replace Japan's Kamui Kobayashi at Sauber next season.
Esteban Gutierrez will replace Japan's Kamui Kobayashi at Sauber next season.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mexico's Esteban Gutierrez to race for Sauber next season
  • Guttierrez will line up alongside Nico Hulkenburg in 2013
  • Kamui Kobayashi to leave team following disappointing season
  • Charles Pic signs long-term deal with Caterham after leaving Marussia

(CNN) -- Sauber has confirmed that Mexico's Esteban Gutierrez will replace Kamui Kobayashi as the team's second driver for next season.

The 21-year-old, who has been the team's reserve driver over the past year, will team up with Nico Hülkenberg, who has joined from Force India.

Guttierrez finished third in the GP2 championship last season after winning three races, and will continue Sauber's recent tradition of having a Mexican driver with Sergio Perez having announced he will be joining McLaren at the end of the season.

The deal means Sauber, who has a sponsorship deal with Mexican telecommunications company Telmex, has another Mexican driver at its disposal.

While Telmex is owned by by the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, Kobayashi boasts no such support.

The Japanese driver sits 11th in the current rankings, just below Perez and above Hulkenburg.

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Guttierrez told the team's official website: "After three years working with Sauber I feel very grateful for all the attention I have received from everyone in the team and for all their input, which has allowed me to develop into a Formula One driver in a very progressive way.

"Now, after experiencing other categories of racing as an introduction to Formula One, this is the start of the real challenge to succeed at the pinnacle of motor sport.

"The support from my family, as well as from my sponsors, has been a key factor in getting there and I am very grateful to everyone who has been involved in our project.

"It will be a great pleasure to be racing in the same team as an experienced driver like Nico Hülkenberg.

"He will be a good reference point for me and will push me to adapt quickly to F1 competition so we can develop the car together with the team in the best way."

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Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn added: "Esteban has already been part of the team for a long time and we have followed his career very closely.

"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."

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Sauber has also taken on Dutch driver Robin Frijns as its new test and reserve driver.

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Meanwhile, Caterham has announced that Charles Pic will drive for the team next season after signing a long-term deal following his decision to leave Marussia.

The 22-year-old, who recorded highest finishes of 15th at the Australian Grand Prix and European Grand Prix, is relishing the new opportunity.

"I am very proud to be able to confirm that I am joining Caterham F1 Team next year and I'm looking forward to many seasons of successful racing cooperation," he said.

"It is clear that the team has great ambitions for the future: the investments already made and the decisions taken in the last few months show how committed the shareholders are to succeed and demonstrates their willingness to keep going forward.

"I am very excited about starting my second year in F1 with a team that has so much potential. Caterham F1 Team has everything in place to help it move into a position to fight with a number of teams ahead.

"I know how determined the team is to keep progressing and I am looking forward to playing my part in helping them move up the grid."

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