Sauber reserve Robin Frijns is concerned that he may effectively spend 2013 on the sidelines after being told that he won't be joining his new team-mates in pre-season testing.
The Dutchman, widely tipped as a future F1 star after winning the 2012 Renault 3.5 series as a rookie, had hoped to get a run in the latest Sauber following its launch this Saturday, but has been told the recently-formed race pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez will complete all of the development work prior to the team leaving for Melbourne.
With his DTM options also appearing to wane, Frijns is naturally unhappy to find himself in a situation where he will be largely redundant just as his career momentum was beginning to peak.
“I think, this year, I will not have much to do,” the 21-year old was quoted by Dutch magazine Formule1
, “It's not only that I won't be doing the winter tests, but it also looks unlikely that I will be used during the Friday practice sessions. And, as Sauber has no simulator, I can't gain experience in that way either.”
Confirming that he was planning to meet with Sauber team bosses at Hinwil today (30 January) in order 'to get more clarity' on the situation, it appears that Frijns is going to have to get used to spending more time out of the cockpit than in it.
“Robin will get the opportunity to be present at the technical meetings, to engage with the engineers, and participate in our fitness programmes,” a team spokesman suggested, “That will provide a good basis for the future.”
Although Frijns tested with Mercedes' DTM squad shortly after being confirmed as successor to Gutierrez at Sauber, he has heard little since, and it is possible that he has been passed over in favour of others looking to extend their careers in touring cars. Potential F1 refugees Bruno Senna and Robert Kubica, amongst others, have both tested with the Three Pointed Star in recent weeks.
“I have few other possibilities,” Frijns concluded, “but I fear it is going to be a difficult year.”