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GP Week : Issue 173
w BRIEFLY » Esteban Gutierrez had a taste of his possible F1 future in India on Friday morning, when the Sauber reserve driver was called in at short notice to replace team-mate and countryman Sergio Perez, who was unwell. While Gutierrez has completed three tests for Sauber, it was the Mexican racer’s first time behind the wheel of an F1 car during a race weekend. “It was a great experience to step in for Sergio this morning,” he said. “For me it was the first time I have been at the wheel of the C31, as I have only done straight line testing so far. Also I didn’t know the track before, which made it an even more interesting session. I have worked very closely with the team all season, listening to the radio and attending the engineers’ meetings. Today I really enjoyed seeing from the inside of the cockpit what I had only seen from the outside. It was also very interesting to be part of an official Formula One event for the first time. It is obviously different to testing and it is challenging to stay focused. I think the circuit here is amazing, especially with the chain of fast corners. However, my target was to progress during that session and make sure I brought the car home in one piece. Now Sergio will be taking over again but, in case anything should happen, I feel ready to get into the car again.” » The definition of a young driver has been further stretched by the list of drivers nominated for the Abu Dhabi Young Drivers’ Test – in addition to McLaren’s usual selection of Gary Paffett (31) and Oliver Turvey (25), Lotus have chosen 31-year-old Nicolas Prost and 25-year-olds Davide Valsecchi and Edoardo Mortara to represent them. Toro Rosso are fielding the more age-appropriate 23-year-olds Luis Razia and Johnny Cecotto Jr., while Caterham have spread their bets with Giedo van der Garde (27) and Alexander Rossi (21). Giving McLaren credit where it’s due, however, the team are also giving 20-year-old Kevin Magnussen a chance to prove his worth in the MP4-27.Reuters (US) is reporting rumours out of the US that the Teacher Retirement System of Texas will buy a 3 percent stake in Formula 1 from the collapsed Lehman Brothers' estate in a deal worth about US$200 million. The sale of the stake will be the first reduction in the Lehman Brothers' holding in Formula 1 since the bank collapsed four years ago, leaving it with a 12 percent shareholding. Scant weeks after joining the Marussia Formula One team as reserve driver, Britain’s Max Chilton is being given the chance to show what he can do behind the wheel of the MR01 when he takes over Charles Pic’s car on Friday morning in Abu Dhabi. Chilton was confirmed as the Marussia reserve in late September, when he finished contesting the GP2 championship for the Marussia Carlin team. It was his third season in the championship, and the Briton finished a respectable fourth after impressing in the latter half of the year. “I feel very proud to be entrusted with this opportunity by the Marussia F1 Team,” Chilton said. “As part of the Young Driver Programme this year I got to know the team very well, but over the last two race weekends, as reser ve driver, I feel like I have a proper role and have learned so much about the Formula One environment in a very short space of time. This is the next step in the process of proving my potential and another important notch for me personally in terms of my ultimate goals. “As for next Friday, the 90 minutes of FP1 will fly by so quickly that it’s a real bonus to be testing the car at a circuit I know well. It means I can get up to speed straight away and focus on delivering some proper set-up and aero evaluation data for the Team to help during the rest of the weekend. My thanks to everyone at the Marussia F1 Team for the faith they have shown in me so far and I will now concentrate my efforts on keeping my excitement in check and ensuring I make the most of this fantastic opportunity!” Chilton’s Friday drive is widely being viewed as an audition for a full-time F1 drive with the team in 2013. The young driver brings with him substantial sponsorship from insurance firm Aon plc, of which his father – Grahame Chilton – is vice-chairman. While it has not been confirmed by anyone within Marussia, it is widely believed that Aon are in the process of acquiring a significant stake in the team for 2013 and beyond. CHILTON GETS FRIDAY ABDAB DRIVE – NEXT BRIT IN F1? F1 >>> NEWS 8 GPWEEK.com // 8 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: