Nov.23 (GMM) Sauber on Friday confirmed reports Esteban Gutierrez has been signed to be Nico Hulkenberg's teammate in 2013.

The news means Japanese Kamui Kobayashi has lost his seat with the Swiss team.

"This has not been an easy decision for us to take," said team boss Monisha Kaltenborn, "but we have committed ourselves to a new beginning."

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber

Photo by: xpb.cc

21-year-old Mexican Gutierrez, who is backed by Sauber's major sponsor Telmex, also succeeds the similarly Telmex-sponsored Sergio Perez, who has been signed by McLaren.

"We are in no doubt we have a strong driver pairing in place for the 2013 season," said team boss Monisha Kaltenborn.

Replacing Gutierrez as Sauber's reserve driver is the impressive Dutchman Robin Frijns, who like Gutierrez is 21.

Referring to Frijns, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 series this year as a rookie, Kaltenborn said: "We will now carefully guide him to Formula One."