Kaltenborn “convinced” by Sirotkin

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Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has said that she is “convinced” by Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin who is poised to claim a seat with the team next season.

Sirotkin has joined Sauber as part of a financial rescue package brokered with a group of Russian investors who are keen on having a native driver competing at the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in 2014. At the age of eighteen, he is set to become the youngest driver in the history of the sport, breaking Jaime Alguersuari’s existing record. Despite his relative inexperience compared to the majority of drivers available, Kaltenborn is confident that Sirotkin can hold his own.

“We have Sergey Sirotkin under contract and it is our intention that in 2014 he will be one of our drivers,” Kaltenborn told the official Formula One website. “We are convinced by him: he is a young and talented driver. Of course, to say now how he will really do on the track would be mere speculation, but we feel that from the ingredients he brings – and from what everybody could see in Monza – the basis is good.”

Sirotkin is yet to claim his FIA superlicense, which is mandatory for all Formula One drivers. However, Kaltenborn is sure that he will be able to secure this with no problems.

“With all this we have a good feeling about preparing him for his super license and then to get him in,” she explained.

Yesterday, Sirotkin enjoyed his first run-out in a Formula One car, getting behind the wheel of a Sauber C31 to complete a show run on part of the circuit at Sochi which will host the Russian Grand Prix next October.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”