October 2, 2013 (F1plus/GMM).- Monisha Kaltenborn insists Sauber would not be afraid to pair two young drivers together in 2014.
The struggling Swiss team is almost resigned to losing the highly rated Nico Hulkenberg to a more competitive outfit like McLaren, Lotus or even Force India.
As long as he gets a F1 super license, the 18-year-old Russian Sergey Sirotkin will replace Hulkenberg, as he comes with Sauber's Russian rescue deal.
Some, however, have expressed doubts that Sirotkin should be paired with current Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez, a 22-year-old rookie who has often struggled in 2013.
"Hulkenberg is likely to leave," former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov said this week, "and they are not too happy with Gutierrez."
Sirotkin, however, told Russia's Championat that Petrov's claims are not true.
"As far as I know," he said, "inside the team they are very happy with him."
But when asked if he would prefer a more experienced teammate in 2014, Sirotkin answered: "It's hard to say.
"Very often someone who you do not expect actually goes very well, and sometimes someone with a big name does not cause much excitement," he said.
"I'm ready for any option, because I know what job I have to do."
Team boss Kaltenborn said Sauber is yet to decide who Sirotkin's teammate will be, but is approaching the decision with an open mind.
"If you look at the history of our team," she said, "we often had two young and not very experienced drivers, and often we did some of our best seasons.
"It is always good to have a certain mix of qualities, but our team has vast experience of working with young drivers," added Kaltenborn.
Asked specifically if a Sirotkin-Gutierrez lineup could work, she insisted: "We would not have any reason to worry about it, no."