Sauber promoted Esteban Gutierrez to be its second driver for the 2013 season, a decision which leaves Kamui Kobayashi without a seat for next year.
The 21-year-old Mexican has worked with Sauber since 2009 and was its test and reserve driver for the past two seasons, in a role which provided him the opportunity to take part in the young driver tests.
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn says Gutierrez has "great talent. We mapped out his path to Formula 1 step by step."
“After three years working with Sauber I feel very grateful for all the attention I have received from everyone in the team and for all their input, which has allowed me to develop into a Formula 1 driver in a very progressive way,” Gutierrez said.
He will drive alongside Nico Hulkenberg in a new line-up for the Switzerland-based team next season which will also feature 21-year old Dutchman Robin Frijns as its new test and reserve driver.
“With this opportunity I will try to help the team as much as possible and get the chance to learn how Formula 1 works in an extremely professional environment,” said Frijns who won this season’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series following which he tested for the F1 team.
Sauber's current top driver Sergio Perez is replacing Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, and Kobayashi is leaving the team.
“Over the last three years Kamui has shown us he is not only a fierce competitor on the track, but also a wonderful person and fantastic team player,” Kaltenborn said. “Every member of our team has the greatest respect for him, and his podium in Japan was a particularly emotional moment for all of us.
“This has not been an easy decision for us to take, but we have committed ourselves to a new beginning,” she added.