BUDAPEST, July 27th, 2013 (AFP) - Sauber on Saturday ruled out the prospect of Russian teenager Sergey Sirotkin taking part in Friday free practice
sessions as part of his progress to a race seat in 2014.
Sirotkin, 17, does not have the necessary racing driver's 'superlicence' and lacks experience.
He had been pushed forward by his management following Sauber's announcement earlier this month that they have agreed a new partnership deal with Russian investors.
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said: "We have to see what kind of possibilities we have (for Sirotkin's development). I know it was mentioned about Fridays, but that is not going to be an option because he doesn't have the superlicence as well.
"We will find other ways which are certainly there to get him that mileage, and (make sure) that he is ready next year to race for us."
The prospect of a raw Russian teenager joining their ranks did little to impress the senior spokesmen among the 2013 drivers on Friday when they were asked about his prospects.
Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, who made his F1 debut at 22 and won the world title a year later in 2008, said: "I wasn't ready at 18. And I was pretty good at 18 so...."
World champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, who was himself a teenage sensation when he arrived in the sport, agreed that the Russian may be too young.
"When you are young and you dream about Formula One, you want to race no matter what, but I think things can be coming too early for you. I think I was probably just on the edge, if I look back now," said Vettel.
Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion and another who graduated to F1 as a youngster via Sauber, aged just 21 and after only 23 car races, said: "For sure they will take him if they feel it's the right thing.
"So I don't see that age will be the problem. It's about experience and that. He might be ready, he might not. Time will tell."
Kaltenborn insisted Sauber will do what they believe is the right thing.
"We know what responsibility we have," she said. "We have been in similar situations before, although maybe not with such a young driver.
"We take the responsibility very seriously and we would like to do our best to prepare him. Now he, of course, has to fulfil certain criteria and we will do our best to make sure he can do that."