Sergey Sirotkin, who is tipped to drive for Sauber in 2014 following the team’s deal with Russian investors, believe he will be ready to make his F1 debut despite a comparative lack of experience.
“At the moment maybe I am a little bit too young but that doesn’t mean I cannot be ready,” the 17-year-old told Autosport.
“I have more than half a year to learn, I am doing a good preparation programme, and I can be ready.”
Sirotkin began racing single-seaters in 2010, contesting the Formula Abarth series in Italy. He moved up to the European championship the following year and claimed the title.
After taking third in the Auto GP World Series last year he is now racing in Formula Renault 3.5, part of the World Series by Renault. He is ninth in the championship after 11 races and second-highest among the rookies.
Sirotkin said he was keen not to pass up the opportunity to become a Formula One driver: “OK, maybe spending one more year in World Series, I could be more ready, but after one more year maybe there is no chance for me to be a Formula 1 driver,” he said.
“I don’t think that someone in my place could say ‘No, I want to stay in World Series’.”
Sirotkin, who turns 18 next month, would be the youngest F1 driver ever to start a grand prix if he were to show up on the grid next March. The record is currently held by Jaime Alguersuari, who was 19 years and 125 days old when he started the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.