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.
Racing is an inherently dangerous sport.
The Racing Safety United (RSU) alliance aims to reduce some of that risk with the formation of a multi-discipline advocacy group that includes all major stakeholders of the sport: sanctioning bodies, drivers, track owners and equipment manufacturers – just to name a few of the many businesses that impact a driver’s welfare once they strap into the seat of a racecar.
Originally spearheaded by sports car driver RJ Valentine, the alliance initially intends to focus on track safety. Because expenses can be razor thin for short tracks, a financial aid program is in the works to help with safety upgrades.
“As a racer, I’ve witnessed a lot of horrible crashes and it always astounds me that, for the most part, the motorsports community continues to accept it, including drivers,” Valentine said in a press release. “Because safety improvement adoption is slow, I realized we need support from constituents in all sectors of motorsports to make any real changes happen.
“Initially, track safety is one of RSU’s top priorities, mainly because it receives the least amount of attention. However, we intend to address all safety areas from helmets to driver education.”
RSU’s first official meeting is scheduled on December 6th during the PRI Show to discuss and prioritize safety initiatives.
The RSU is currently made up of 30 members including former NASCAR driver Jerry Nadeau, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher, Flying Lizard owner Darren Law, Randy Lajoie – owner of The Joie of Seating, sportscar driver Andrew Pilgrim and journalist Dick Berggren.
More information can be found on the RSU site.