Sirotkin shows promise but F1 debut may be too soon

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Last month Sauber announced a new technology deal had been agreed with several Russian organisations – and that teenager Sergey Sirotkin was being considered for a drive in 2014.

As Sirotkin’s father Oleg is the director general of the National Institute of Aviation Technologies, one of three groups involved in the Sauber deal, it did not take a cynic to suspect nepotism was the reason why a relatively unknown and very young driver was suddenly in the running for an F1 seat.

But this risks doing a disservice to Sirotkin’s talents. He has shown promise in his somewhat brief career to date, though an F1 debut in 2014 still seems somewhat premature.

Double-duty in F3 and Auto GP

Sirotkin’s first success in single seater-racing came in 2011. Aged just 15 and in his second year of single-seater racing, Sirotkin won the Formula Abarth European series, taking five wins. This was despite a mid-season switch from Jenzer Motorsport to Euroracing, the team run by 1995 Formula 3000 champion (and, briefly, F1 driver) Vincenzo Sospiri.

The following year Euroracing moved him up to Auto GP, whose ex-A1 Grand Prix cars were over three times more powerful than those he’d driven before. But Sirotkin wasn’t fazed by the power hike: He started his first race from the front row and although he stalled at the start he recovered to finish fourth in the second race.

Despite his inexperience Sirotkin continued to impress in Auto GP. On his street circuit debut in Marrakesh he put the car on pole position. Unfortunately he was caught out at the start when he caught site of a marshal holding a five-second board and wasn’t expecting the lights to change.

Rookie mistakes aside, Sirotkin clearly had raw pace. He won his third start at Valencia despite a busy weekend where in addition to two Auto GP races he also made a trio of appearances in the Italian Formula Three series.

Switching between different types of car is tough enough when done on consecutive weekends as Antonio Felix da Costa discovered last year while juggling GP3 with Formula Renault 3.5. The overlap between Sirotkin’s two campaigns was even more demanding and can’t have been to his benefit.

He was on double duty again at the Hungaroring, winning one of the F3 races, and was on course for second in the first Auto GP race before his gearbox failed. He bounced back to finish on the podium in the second race.

From then on he finished in the top four in all the remaining Auto GP races, and only once failed to bring the car home on the podium. He ended 2012 third in Auto GP and fifth in Italian Formula Three.

This year Sirotkin has wisely chosen to concentrate on a single category: Formula Renault 3.5. Second place in appalling conditions at Motorland Aragon has been the highlight of his season so far, though he remains the second-highest rookie in the championship standings.

F1 chance with Sauber

Earlier this week Sauber squashed rumours which claimed their Russian deal was in jeopardy. They were particularly keen to stress the Sirotkin project is moving forward:

“The contract with driver Sergey Sirotkin is in place. Preparations for his involvement in the team, as likewise announced, will start next week.”

This raises two questions: what exactly will his “involvement in the team” be, and how are they going to prepare him for it?

If Sauber plan to have Sirotkin in one of their cars on the starting grid at Melbourne next year, they’re going to have to move fast. He doesn’t have a superlicence yet and will not automatically qualify for one unless he wins the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, which is extremely unlikely at this stage.

He will therefore need to log 300km of testing within two days to get a superlicence. Sauber can’t do this using Friday practice sessions (as a superlicence is needed to participate). ‘Promotional’ running is limited to 100km per event, so that’s not an option, and he’s already missed the Young Drivers’ Test.

That leaves Sauber with the option of using their straight-line aerodynamic testing allocation or waiting until pre-season testing next year. The former would surely be preferable.

Too much too soon?

But whatever they do if Sirotkin does make his F1 debut in March next year he will be the youngest driver ever to start an F1 race by several months, and one of the least well-prepared of recent seasons.

There are examples of racing drivers being successful after making early moves to Formula One. Kimi Raikkonen famously had made fewer than two dozen starts, all of them in fairly low-powered Formula Renault 2.0 cars, before making his debut in 2001.

Sauber has a deserved reputation for nurturing young talent and Raikkonen is an excellent example of that, along with Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez. But in Sirotkin’s case there is clearly more going on than a team identifying a promising up-and-coming driver.

Business imperatives are pushing Sirotkin towards an F1 drive, perhaps too quickly. He has admitted it might be preferable to spend another year in Formula Renault 3.5. But the temptation of F1 is hard to resist – especially with Russia holding its first Grand Prix next year.

Sirotkin has shown promise in his junior career and his Auto GP experience proves he can handle life in the deep end of the pool with a much more powerful car than he’s used to. The question is whether he’s jumping in or being thrown.

Over to you

Do you think Sergey Sirotkin is ready to make his grand prix debut? Does the backing drivers bring play too much of a role in deciding who makes it into F1? Have your say in the comments.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “Sirotkin shows promise but F1 debut may be too soon”

  1. I don’t think he’s ready: it wil be a massive jump from not having a superlicence now to being rushed into gaining one then straight into F1. They should be sensible I think and give him another year to prepare.

    1. I’d tend to agree, but then again, the same was thought by many about Kimi. And he’s gone on to become of the the greatest drivers in the field.

      1. @mike did Räikkönen have to hurriedly get a superlicence though? If not I think that could be a key difference – obviously they could test more in 2002 than now.

        1. @vettel1

          – obviously they could test more in 2002 than now.

          I think that is the key.
          Kimi, being young and all that, was able to test as much as he needed.
          Sirotkin cannot do that. He only have a few pre season tests and a couple of practice sessions before he needs to be up to speed with F1.
          I hope he is given a year more to get ready with hopefully some first practice outings, etc. in the coming season.
          It’s just the worst thing to watch a promising talent get humiliated because he isn’t ready.

        2. Raikkonen was given special dispensation by the FIA for his super licence, as he did not have any of the results necessary to get one automatically. The FIA held a special hearing in December 2000 to determine whether or not one would be granted.

        3. I think he is being rushed too much here. What you mention about the testing is a very important factor in it @vettel1.

          If we compare the situation – Kimi could do several thousand testing km before starting his season with Sauber, while they will be having a tough time finding enough running opportunities even to get Sirotkin those coveted 2×300 km before winter testing.

          I think it would be better to have him do friday sessions and combine it with GP3, or another season of WSR 3.5 next year.

        4. I looked it up, from wikipedia

          Having previously only raced in very junior open-wheel categories, he was given his Super Licence from the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) after a performance delivery promise by his team boss, Peter Sauber.

          So, it’s kinda better this time around. Or at least not much worse.

    2. People bring up Raikkonen to defend Sirotkin.

      Well even with a very proud Russian in me, if you go on Wikipedia and look up the accomplishments – you will see why Raikkonen is one of the best of his time and Sirotkin is just another driver with amazing financial back up.

      1. I think its too early to tell really Kimi4WDC. WHo knows maybe he surprises us, gives us a couple of real highlights in his first season at Sauber and then gets picked up by a top team and become WDC in 2-3 years from now

      2. I must agree with this post, and the poster does not let nationality stand in the way of objective thinking. Raikkonen was at a top, top level in karts, and really the single seater races were just to adapt to driving a single seater. Similar routes were taken by Alonso, with F3000, and Button/Davidson, with F.Ford, F3, F1. Even Massa did the same, via South American/Italian series. Webber was the one who took what is now a well travelled route, of perfecting yourself in each upcoming series, then followed by Hamilton, Rosberg, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Vettel etc.

        Raikkonen’s route was more similar to that taken by Senna – excel in karts and then shortly transition to F1 once you are 20. Button and Alonso did this slightly earlier, around 18, and now top karters try and move to single seaters at around 16, aiming for F1 by 22, and a few years later if you can still manage it (Grosjean, Di Resta).

        Sirotkin undoubtedly has talent, for he is very young, similar to other drivers like Visoiu. But he has also tried to get to F1 as fast as possible (not surprising, given the financial demands of junior formulae), and perhaps a little more time to perfect his driving in the lower formulae would be a sound investment. In 2014, he could place top 3 in the FR 3.5, appear in the YDT at Silverstone, FP1 in Sochi and onwards, and push for a 2015 seat, still making him one of the youngest drivers and with doubts that he was ready. But if the deal is for $20 million dollars, why not take the F1 drive? Although a flop-like career and being done by 21 (a la Alguersuari) isn’t very desirable at all.

        Even WDC’s (and in waiting) Vettel, Hamilton and Hulkenberg have said they were barely ready at 19/20, the latter two waiting until they were 22 and had won the GP2 Series. At the moment, Sirotkin is in danger of joining Pic and Chilton in the ‘fast, but not a winner of any championships’ pay driver category (even they are better prepared for F1, although his double duty will give him a double boost of training in car adaptation and bringing out driver talent).

        1. *Correction: They both won the F3 Euro Series and then the GP2 Series consecutively. Hulkenberg never finished below 5th in a yearly junior series, and to be honest is definitely ready for a top drive – Lotus would suit him well should Kimi go. Almost winning a race in a Force India (unlucky not to do so, debris caution anyone?), and taking pole in a Williams, is evidence enough!

          And also, given the testing restrictions, even top level drivers have now taken a year of practices and getting integrated into a team to prepare for F1 (where previously there was extensive in season testing to do this, e.g. Hamilton, Vettel). Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Bianchi, Bottas being just 4 and they are all top drivers in waiting. Add to that Grosjean having doing some FP1s, Frijns hopefully the latest in this position (without the running), Rossi, and it becomes clear this would be a good route for Sirotkin to take, while any investment brought in improves the Sauber for 2014 onwards (to make for a better 2015 car on his debut).

  2. I don’t think he even needs to be ready to be in F1. Let’s look at the realities. His father is ready to pay for his son’s drive. He would be more ready after one more season in the lower formulas. But with all expenses paid he can have one poor season in F1 learning those things as well. There is very little chance to break his career. A career breaks when you get into F1 too early and lose your financial backing or drive because of poor results. Apparently when you have got your own father to pay your bills this is not a very likely scenario at all in my opinion.

    In the end there are three scenarios.
    1. He is good enough and ready to be in F1 in 2014. That’s it.
    2. He is good enough but not ready to be in F1 in 2014. No biggie. Just learn and improve. You can learn to be an f1 driver while being f1 driver. Doesn’t necessarily matter if he does his learning in F1 or in F3.5. Daddy keeps paying, junior keeps driving.
    3. He is not good enough to be an F1 driver. Ready or not. Well, only way to see it is to put him in the car and see what he does.

    1. 3rd would be a shame, but I think he’ll make it.

    2. Agreed, you only have to plot a graph of the age successful F1 drivers start their career to see that we have not yet gotten to the point where youth is a negative factor, in fact the opposite seems more apparent.

  3. Gutierrez is a perfect example, particularly to Sauber. A winner of the GP3 title and third in his rookie season in GP2, the Mexican driver clearly had the talent (and a better CV than Sirotkin). Yet it was clear he still had lots of rough edges, and I predicted last year prior to his move that if promotion came for 2013 it would be a season too soon. So it has (to my mind) proved.

    If Sirotkin’s backers really have his best interests at heart, they’ll give him some more time in the feeder categories to develop.

    But it’s equally likely that impatience and money will win the day.

    1. Just because Gutierrez had success in some series but has so far failed to make a dent in Formula 1, that doesn’t automatically mean that Sirotkin is doomed to the same fate. After all, people questioned the wisdom of putting Kimi Raikkonen in a car back in 2001, and he’s a World Champion.

      1. Just because Gutierrez had success in some series but has so far failed to make a dent in Formula 1, that doesn’t automatically mean that Sirotkin is doomed to the same fate

        That’s not what I said. I was simply using Gutierrez as an example of a driver with talent, promoted too soon.

        And it’s interesting that you use KR, a driver you relentlessly criticise, as an example.

        When Kimi was promoted to F1 he had limited experience, but had still won two FR2.0 titles and 13 of his 23 races in that series. He was also 20, not 18 as Sirotkin will be next year, and at that age a couple of years can make a huge difference.

        None of this means Sirotkin can’t succeed in F1, but it seems to me that next year is far too soon, and much more likely to be harmful than beneficial to his development. If he really is ready, another season or two in the lower categories won’t hurt, but if he is promoted before his time it could damage his career irreparably.

  4. Please not another pay driver!

    He may have talent but he is too young.

    1. @full-throttle-f1 – I think you’re being really unfair, for two reasons.

      Firstly, most of the drivers on the grid bring sponsorship to their teams. Only a handful of drivers have no financial strings attached to them. For instance, Sergio Perez comes with backing from Carlos Slim – but he’s also a driver with several podiums to his name. So is he a pay driver, or someone who deserves to be in Formula 1 based on his talent alone?

      Secondly, the traditional definition if a “pay driver” is someone who has no business being in Formula 1, but has a seat because money changed hands. So just because Sauber get a financial bonus for taking Sirotkin, it doesn’t automatically make him a pay driver, and to judge him as such before he has even driven the car is incredibly unfair.

  5. I think it would be far better if they nurture him before throwing him in. If he comes out a class A driver, all will be the better for him, and for the status of F1 in Russia. I can understand they want a guy behind the wheel in Sochi, but this young/inexperienced? I’d say give Robin Frijns a chance next year (proven talent, hardly any sponsors though…a problem most Dutch drivers have) and let him drive all season except Sochi. You can put in Petrov for that one race, please the crowd/commercial folks, and then bring Sirotkin in 2015. This will also give him a chance to have some YDT and such before his debut.

    Expecting Hulkenberg to leave, you could take in Frijns (and see if he proves his skill), while in the meanwhile keeping Gutierrez (and his huge load of sponsorship). If Frijns messes up you replace him with Sirotkin in 2015, and if not you replace Gutierrez with Sirotkin. The only real downside might be that you have consecutive seasons with 2 relatively underexperienced drivers. Then again, like the article sort of says….there are several levels of ‘lack of experience’.

    1. @txizzle – Giving Frijns a seat is not an option. Not unless he can find some sponsorship. A lack of sponsors is what got Sauber into trouble in the first place.

      1. More like lack of creativity. And constant winging.

    2. COTD :-)

    3. @txizzle Actually the Frijns option can be great for Sirotkin. I would rather see a scenario in which the russian got his superlicence during pre-season test. Frijns get the drive at sauber but Sirotkin has the FP1 drive to get use to F1 without putting him on the big scene too early and get him ready for the next year.

      This would allow sauber to have a potential good driver with Frijns but no money from him, money coming from Sirotkin and justifying the fact that Frijns won’t have any FP1 to let them at Sirotkin. Could be a situation in which all three have something to gain from …

      1. This is probably the best case scenario. I hope Sauber are able to somehow stall this kid getting his superlicense for the sake of everyone in F1.

      2. I like this option the best. Makes a lot of sense to me. Frigns will need some fp time too though.

      3. But Sirotkin would need to get his Superlicence in order to be allowed to participate in FP1

        1. yes, but if they plan to run him in FP1 next year, its enough when they let him do 2 days of winter testing to get the licence @dominikwilde

    4. @txizzle Yes, yes, yes and once more yes!
      That would be a very good scenario in my eyes, and I expect in the rest of the Dutch fan’s eyes. Although Frijns isn’t the complete package (yet), as he showed with some reckless driving during his sadly short stay in GP2 this year. But he has potential, that’s for sure.
      It could be one hell of a gamble to put him next to Guttierez, but if the financial situation is safe with Sirotkin as a reserve driver, than I hope they will take this course.

      I’m so rooting for Hulk to get a seat at Ferrari now. He deserves it and it makes the above possible :)

      1. Ferrari press talks through a year on massa.

        1st half of season, “Massa should be performing better, we believe in him though” (Massa gets worse)

        2nd half of season (massa rubbish), “There are a lot good young drivers out there…hmm”

        3rd half of season (massa comes 4th in last race), “We’re keeping him for next year”

        Go back to top and start again :-)

        1. I really hope this isn’t the case again. Or Massa improves drastically or he is gone. But Im afraid you’d be right.

          Oh and I’ve never heard of 3 halves. That would mean Hungary ’14 ;-p

    5. I would absolutely love that – I hope Massa gets the boot and Hülkenberg is promoted in his pace and then as you said Frijns is promoted in his place. Then provided he performs (which I’m certain he would) follow that with what you proposed – Gutierrez out, Sirotkin in.

      I don’t think that’s a completely unrealistic ideal.

  6. Give him a race at the Russian GP if he’s ready – that’s near the end of the season, so he’ll have done another full year in Renault 3.5.
    But he won’t be ready yet at Melbourne (or Bahrain) in March. Why does it have to be a full season of F1? There are so many races and so few F1 teams now (each with 3 or more drivers signed up), I’d like to see the drivers changed or rotated a bit more anyway.

  7. Madness, for his age, to be on the grid next year. He’s shown speed, but he needs more time in junior racing, and some free practice sessions, to be at least at a decent level. I really REALLY hope they don’t push him into a seat next year, where he’ll either be dangerous, or just slow.

  8. To be honest, people are not all the same. Guiterrez in my opinion lacked conviction from the very beginning, he himself questioned… himself if he was ready for F1 and I assume was pushed by his Mexican sponsors. Sirotkin could be a different beast, 17 years is scary and logically I would say hold on; but Sauber need the money – desperately – and hey, let him run in testing. A lot of running helps even if it doesn’t come close to an F1 start, but then they will know if he’s ready or not. I don’t know if they have the luxury of a plan B in case Sirotkin has a meltdown, to bring in Frijns; but if I were Peter Sauber, I would simply prepare him as much and as professionally as possible… and take the money.

    I like Sauber, they are to me the middle class of F1, if the F1 grid was only made up of the ultra-rich teams and we lose the middle class like Sauber, how would F1 look like…

    1. @makana

      It would look the same but with sauber gone xD

  9. I don’t think my opinion has changed much since this was announced.

    Is he a good driver? Perhaps.
    Does he have great potential? Perhaps.
    Is he good enough for f1? Driver quality doesn’t appear to be a criteria these days, or bianchi and frijns would have been in long ago.
    Would he be a candidate for f1 without sponsorship? No, but he’s far from the only one.
    Would he have got sponsorship without nepotism? No, because Russian companies and billionaires aren’t queuing up to sponsor f1.

    Realistically, there is as much to say “he’s not ready” as there is to say “he can’t do any worse than Driver X”. What’s more relevant is how this will work out for Sauber, because f1 is desperate for money and teams.

    There’s no shortage of drivers standing around bleating that they’re “ready for f1” and how “it’s always been my dream” and that they want to be a world champion. As if anyone’s going to say “eh I’m a midranking journeyman and if the car is fast enough and I have enough engineers telling me what to do over the radio I might scrape a few decent results at the expense of someone with natural talent but no political or financial connections”.

  10. A lot of people are comparing Sirotkin with Gutierrez here, but although the latter had shown promise I hardly think it’s the same level as Sirotkin’s. Doing double campaigns are tough enough, and it’s never easy to get a grip on both series of participation. Gutierrez has never done a double campaign, his career has been very structured. He showed strong pace in Formula BMW, but in all his years in motorsport (before F1) he has been in top-of-the-range teams. In Formula BMW, he was with the famed Josef Kaufmann Racing team, who finished 1-2 in 2008 with Gutierrez and Marco Wittmann, and who won 2 out of the 3 Formula BMW Europe championships held between 2008 and 2010. In F3 Euroseries, he didn’t have a great season really…he finished only 9th in crack squad ART, whereas the similarly-experienced Valtteri Bottas finished 3rd, running for the same team. 2010 was probably the one season where Gutierrez did well to win the GP3 championship, he was comfortably ahead of his closest teammate Alexander Rossi that year.
    Both his GP2 seasons were inconsistent and less than satisfactory. I might give him the benefit of doubt in 2011 as he was paired with the more experienced Bianchi (who soundly thrashed surprises there), but in 2012, there was little excuse for nearly being beaten by less experienced teammate James Calado.
    Consider Sirotkin, and the only crack squad he’s ever driven in, is Jenzer, that too not for the whole Auto GP season. This year, he drives for ISR in Formula Renault 3.5, who had a good season last year only due to the presence of very experienced driver Sam Bird. Sirotkin is currently very much ahead of his teammate Christopher Zanella at the moment, and the Swiss driver is no pushover, having been a frontrunner in F2 in 2011 and 2012, beside being a Swiss Formula Renault champ.

  11. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    15th August 2013, 15:34

    If Esteban “the chosen one” Gutierrez won races and championships in GP3 and GP2 and yet is still not ready for F1 then Sergey “what’s-his-name” Sirotkin most definitely isn’t. If he does end up in F1 next year then it’ll be a fatal blow for his hopes of a long term and successful career in F1, because after a few short races presumably full of spins and shunts he’ll make a very undesirable and ever lasting impression on the F1 paddock before being banished to some provincial touring car series to lead the rest of his career in obscurity. And that’d be a shame, because from what I’ve seen and read, he has some speed. However as I speak, the only young drivers that are in my eyes truly ready for F1 are Robin Frijns, Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Sam Bird, James Calado and Antonio Felix da Costa, and I’d even put question marks above those final two names. However all of these drivers have got in the car in most series that they have driven in and made an impression. Has Sirotkin done that in FR3.5? Not really, no. There’ve been the occasional flashes of the speed he is clearly capable of, but it’d be inaccurate to say that he’s been impressive in any way. In the happy eventuality that Sirotkin remains in FR3.5 next year, he’ll most certainly be a championship contender, presuming that Magnussen, Vandoorne and da Costa get snaffled up by F1 teams into race reserve roles. Sirotkin should enable greater experience to bring flair to his natural speed and should probably put all his efforts into winning the FR3.5 title next year before spending 2015 in GP2 and then embarking on F1 a year later. To enter the lion’s den any earlier than 2016 would be fatal for his hopes of a successful career at the pinnacle of motorsport.

  12. I’m an experienced watcher of F1, and some other motorsports as well, but how to judge whether a young driver is experienced enough for F1 or not? Obviously, Sirotkin is extremely young, and it may be preferable to compete at the pinnacle of motorsport when a driver has matured a bit more.

    On the other hand, in other sports people also compete at the highest level at a very young age, for instance in chess where players gain top-level playing strength at younger and younger ages – Magnus Carlsen made his debut in the Wijk aan Zee A group at age 15, and was beating everyone by the age of 18.

    A difference between chess players and racing drivers is that the former can improve their skills for as long as they can concentrate in a day, whereas racing drivers get very little track time, especially when they are no longer in karting. So how far along the learning curve is Sirotkin as a racing driver? I haven’t seen much of the FR3.5 racing this season, but looking solely at the results, Sirotkin is not winning yet, so he’s not quite ready.

    Therefore some more time in the lower formulas might benefit him, although they do even less running in FR3.5 than they do in Formula 1, so the quickest way for him to learn is to get behind the wheel of the F1 car. So I agree with @socksolid ‘s comment above; as long as his drive is paid for, he can afford to learn on the job a little, as long as he doesn’t put too many cars in the wall.

  13. I don’t think anyone, not even Sirotkin himself, knows if he’s ready or not. He will have to do all of his learning every race weekend and this will be similar to Alguersuari’s rookie year, he didn’t crash or anything silly like that but he was slow.

    Fortunately for Sirotkin he will have a long contract with Sauber which means he has several years to improve and show his talent we just have to be patient.

  14. He’s obviously not ready. It’s irrelevant how fast you are. You might be born fast, but you don’t avoid mistakes and have the racecraft to compete from the start. That comes with experience, and he obviously doesn’t have much of it. But that’s what it is now with F1. We have no money, we gotta use pay-drivers, and we can’t test them properly either.

    Ultimately, I don’t think Sergey will have problems on track more than the usual nutcases we have already, who did have the experience necessary to step into F1 (champions in GP2, the official stepladder), yet they are accident prone. Alguersuari also raised suspicions, and he did well.

    If anything, it’s Sauber to lose. Or gain. Considering their problems, they surely consider that this is the only way to survive.

  15. Wasn’t Alguersuari like 19 when he debuted? he grasped it after about a couple races, so i don’t think age has anything to do with whether he should be allowed to race in F1, if he’s good enough, he should be given a chance.

    1. @shomir whether he has the maturity and experience is debatable though – I would argue that he isn’t quite there yet. The major difference between his and Räikkönen’s positions for me is that Räikkönen will have had plenty of opportunities to test before his debut due to the comparatively relaxed testing regulations (Ferrari of course are famous for having racked up hundreds of thousands of miles in track running). Sirotkin will only have very limited opportunities to prepare at all before the season if he were to drive next year and since he lacks the experience in the feeder series I don’t think it’d be a good idea to debut him in 2014. 2015 though…

      1. Raikkonen’s initial laps were the ones that made his case in acquiring the super license.

      2. i remember Kimi only had 3 testing session with Sauber.

        1st testing session only lasted 5 laps as Kimi ‘s neck couldn’t sustain the G force.

  16. Even if it’s for a weekend or two, stick in him in the car and see what he can do, I say.

  17. My main concern with Sirotkin is that he puts on a late growth spurt and can no longer fit in the 2014 Sauber F1 car following his seat fitting.

    1. Well euh … I’m 19 and I don’t know any of my friends or myself that had a ‘late growth spurt’ after the age of 17. He’ll grow 1 cm or something like that :P

  18. It’s interesting that people are citing Alguersuari in support of Sirotkin making his debut next year, since to me JA proves the folly of making the move too soon. Jaime had potential, but by the time it started to show itself in F1 RB’s patience had run out. He was rather poor the first season and a half.

    1. pretty much my thought on that too @jonsan. Alguersuari’s career was certainly not helped by being thrown in the deep end without much testing and before he was ready. Something that sounds eerily like what we will have with Sirotkin (not matured enough, and hardly a chance to test)

  19. […] ex-A1 Grand Prix cars were over three times more powerful than […]

    Now there’s a sentence you don’t read every day :P

    1. those are the Ferrari built cars based on Schumi’s championship challenger from 2004 aren’t they?

  20. For all we know, Sirotkin could have a higher ceiling than Vitaly Petrov.

  21. Alex van Zanten
    6th September 2013, 9:08

    Where Sauber gained the respect for actually finding and getting real talent like Kimi and Massa into formula 1 when they could do it. I honestly believe that by doing what the new Russian sponsers want they will ruin 2 carreers for the price of 1 team.

    Sirotkin will probably find it all coming too soon for him. Either he will be flanked by Hulkenberg and be outshine so much it will be demotivating for him and his sponsor, or he gets a weaker opponent making it very hard for the team to justify it all .I would not be suprised that after a bad year the money suddenly seems to be finished.

    But now they are also killing a carreer of a driver like Frijns, I think releasing him from his contract came just too late to pick up a interresting spot at other teams, either they already signed someone or are too far into talks with other drivers.

    But most off all, I cannot justify a team chosing a young kid who is just 9th in a championship over the guy who won it last year in what I believe a much stronger competition. Personally I hope the FIA will give him his superlicence under special rules as they did before that if he does not perform they can revoke it.

    I don’t want that to hurt the young Sirotkin but actually to protect him. because if you enter formula 1 too soon and mostly on money because maybe he has huge potential, it has NOT been released yet. He is not blazing away the competition. He probably could if he took his racing carreer more serious as a pro and not as a rockstar with a entourage. In the lower series IF you want to win you need to spend hours with your engineers getting the car JUST right. You do not show up at the race with a entourage and have your team ask if you might have a moment so they can talk through your plans. it should be the otherway around, you should be trying to get as much time as possible from the team. My feeling is that they got Lucky a few times with finding the right setup for him to work. But if he would dumb his entourage and get serious he would be a whole lot faster and higher in the ranking.

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