Hulkenberg has doubts over Sirotkin’s readiness

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Nico Hulkenberg doubts Russian youngster Sergey Sitorkin will be able to make enough progress in time to be fully ready for an F1 debut in 2014.

The 17-year-old has no F1 experience but is under consideration by Sauber for a race seat in 2014 after they gained backing from several Russian organisations.

“Me, I wasn’t ready for Formula One at that point,” Hulkenberg told Autosport, echoing similar comments made by Lewis Hamilton last month. “It is ambitious, maybe a bit risky, but it’s not my decision.”

Sirotkin, who turns 18 next week, would be the youngest driver ever to start an F1 race if he made his debut at the beginning of next season.

He is yet to gain his F1 superlicence, for which he requires 186 miles (300km) of running in an F1 car. But with the Young Drivers’ Test having already passed his opportunities to do so before testing for next year’s season begins are limited.

Hulkenberg acknowledged Sirotkin had little opportunity to build up his F1 experience: “He will keep on racing in Formula Renault [3.5], beyond that he could do lots of simulator running, but that isn’t real life, and Sauber does not have a simulator so that is not an option.”

Sirotkin is visiting the Sauber factory today and tomorrow.

MRTI: Juncos signs Carlos Cunha for Pro Mazda campaign

Photo: Juncos Racing
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Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.

Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.

“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”

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