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Sauber will announce their 2013 driver-line up before the end of the current Formula 1 season, according to team CEO Monisha Kaltenborn. Kamui Kobayashi is not yet confirmed to be staying and others linked with a position in the Swiss team are current reserve driver Esteban Gutiérrez, Jaime Alguersuari and Nico Hülkenberg.
Talk of Gutiérrez being promoted has long since been on the agenda and has only strengthened since the team recently renewed its sponsorship deal with Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex, despite Sergio Pérez’s defection to McLaren. Last week, Alguersuari began to follow Force India on Twitter - perhaps hinting his team for an F1 return - and there is also a feeling that Hülkenberg could switch to Sauber.
“In this season,” Kaltenborn told Reuters when asked if the driver decision will come soon. “For a change, it has nothing to do with (engine supplier) Ferrari - it's our own decision. We are making our own decisions, making our own calls and talking to who we want. Then it’s up to the driver, whoever is concerned, and where they want to go.”
Kaltenborn added that current driver Kobayashi would not necessarily be under more pressure had he not finished on the podium at Suzuka on Sunday.
“We are in the process of making our decision and we know him very well,” she continued. “We know his strengths very well, so we don't need these kind of things for it, (but) I hope that with this kind of result there is fresh impetus for companies to come in.”
Sauber has now collected four podium finishes in 2012, which makes up 40 percent of the Swiss outfit’s rostrum results since it debuted in F1 19 years ago.
Also on Monday:
Kobayashi: Podium proves I’m an F1 driver
|13 May||Hülkenberg: We have homework ahead|
|11 May||Massa, Gutiérrez hit with grid penalties|
|8 May||Video: Anatomy of a Formula 1 pit-stop|
|3 May||Sauber bringing new rear wing to Spain|
|22 Apr||Hülkenberg pushing for car upgrades|
|2 Feb||Sauber optimistic over 2013 contender|
|30 Jan||Sauber forms partnership with DEKRA|
|16 Dec '12||Sauber pushing for F1 cost reduction|
|23 Nov '12||Sauber wishes Kobayashi well for future|
|31 Oct '12||Sauber: Hülkenberg will fit in very well|
|22 May||Monaco memories: Startline crashes, 2012|
|21 May||Video: McLaren youngster Ben Barnicoat|
|21 May||Whitmarsh: Lowe release the right thing to do|
|21 May||Video: Mégane Red Bull RB8 limited edition|
|21 May||Kristensen gets steward role in Monte-Carlo|
|More Monisha Kaltenborn photos|