Just as Max Chilton thought he could steal a march on the man that beat him to third place in the GP2 Series standings, Esteban Gutierrez may get the opportunity to make his FP1 debut first.

Chilton was confirmed as Marussia's second driver for the opening practice session at next weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but Gutierrez, who remains firmly in the frame to make the full race line-up at Sauber in 2013, could get an early call-up to run in both Friday sessions at the Buddh International Circuit this weekend, after team-mate Sergio Perez arrived in India with a heavy cold.

The McLaren-bound Mexican driver was forced to cancel all media appearances today [Thursday], and his bosses at Sauber will monitor his condition overnight before taking a decision on whether he should run in free practice on Friday.

The 22-year old tried to drive in last year's Friday sessions in Canada, only to pull out due to the lingering effects of his massive Monaco shunt. On that occasion, he was replaced by veteran Pedro de la Rosa but, this time around, Gutierrez would be the logical choice, and is already on hand in India for just such an incident.

Although he has had the chance to sample Sauber machinery before, the Mexican has yet to do so during a grand prix weekend, but the opportunity - however unexpected - can only be of benefit ahead of his likely graduation to the top flight in 2013.



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