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GP Week : Issue 191
F1 >>> nEWs Russian teenager sergey sirotkin got his first taste of Formula One when he drove a 2013 sauber Formula One car at a demonstration event in the Black sea resort town of sochi at the end of september. Sirotkin, who is preparing to step up to a full-time race seat next season, drove the C32 along a 700-metre stretch of the Sochi street circuit, which is set to play host to Russia’s Grand Prix debut, and described his first Formula One experience as “awesome.” “These were my first metres in a Formula One car, which obviously is something very special, even though it was only a short part of the Sochi track,” the 18-year-old said. “Nevertheless I was able to gain a first impression, and this was awesome. It was fun to drive in front of such a big crowd, particularly because most of them were compatriots. Russia can be proud of this great track.” Sirotkin, currently competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, is set to become the youngest ever Formula One driver when he makes his debut at the Australian Grand Prix next year and his elevation to a full-time Formula One drive is Sauber’s end of the bargain under a deal the Hinwil-based squad struck with a group of Russian investors who threw the team a financial lifeline. But the young Russian racer still needs to secure a superlicense, without which he cannot take part in a grand prix weekend, and plans are currently afoot for Ferrari – engine suppliers to Sauber – to give Sirotkin a chance to run the Scuderia’s 2009 car at their private Fiorano Circuit. It is a necessary move not only to allow him to race in 2014, but also to end constant speculation about the wisdom of giving a driver with limited single-seater experience a Formula One race drive. Sirotkin has already been to Sauber’s headquarters for a seat fitting, to interact with the team’s engineers, and to learn the functions of a Formula One steering wheel, and he was also spotted in the team’s garages at last month’s Italian Grand Prix. At the last race in Singapore, Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said Sirotkin’s preparation was progressing well and that the team had lined up some test sessions for him in Italy at the end of the month, alluding to the Fiorano plans that are now a matter of public record. “I think if you’ve met him you see how focused he is, how mature he is, despite just being eighteen,” Kaltenborn said in Singapore. “And he shows he clearly has the talent and he’ll definitely work hard on himself.” SIROTKIN'S F1 BABY STEPS 8 GPWEEK.com // 8 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: