Sergey Sirotkin on Fast Track to Become Youngest Formula 1 Driver Ever

By Michael Guzman
Sochi, Russia
USA Today Sports

Sergey Sirotkin is certainly not a household name, or a name that registers in the minds of even the most committed Formula 1 fans. But, fans should get used to hearing his name now, and possibly for a very long time. That’s because Sergey Sirotkin will be Sauber F1’s second driver in 2014, per the plans of the team. The main reason for this is the immense financial support from Russian companies Sirotkin will bring ahead of the 2014 Grand Prix of Russia. He will be the first Russian to compete in Formula One since 2012, when Vitaly Petrov exited the sport.

Things have gone absolutely sour for the Swiss team Sauber. Nico Hulkenberg has grown unhappy with the performance of the car. Financially, the team has entered a state of distress. Rumors began to circulate after The German Grand Prix that Hulkenberg had quit the team due to not being paid.

Although false, the mere existence of the rumors truly acknowledged how bad things have gotten for the team which finished sixth in the 2012 Constructors Championship, largely thanks to current McLaren driver Sergio Perez and his sponsorship from Mexican companies including Carlos Slim’s Telmex.

Slim’s presence with the team remains through Esteban Gutierrez, who will remain in the sport purely based on his sponsorship money, not his results. Now the premier driver for the team, Gutierrez will need to take even more responsibility regarding the direction of the team.

Sergey Sirotkin will make it two drivers for the Sauber team who will not be competitive in Formula One any time soon. The 2011 Formula Abarth Champion is currently competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, with varied results. In order to gain Formula One’s super license, a driver must win the Formula Renault 3.5 series or demonstrate “consistently demonstrated outstanding ability in single-seater formula cars”.

Three major companies will support Sirotkin in a promotional push before the Russian Grand Prix, led by the National Institute of Aviation Technologies. The immediate promotion of Sirotkin to the first suitor with an open seat seems to be Russia’s patchwork in response to unrest over the country’s spending of over $50 billion for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

The rushed scramble for financial stability now seems to now be over for Sauber, though the controversy over its drivers and sagging performance will now more than likely continue for years to come.

Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486


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