Sauber’s decision to drop Robin Frijns from his reserve driver role was nothing to do with his abilities as a driver, according to team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.
The reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion joined Sauber at the end of last season and subsequently tested for the team in the young driver tests in Abu Dhabi and at Silverstone. But it was revealed on Wednesday that the Swiss squad has decided against taking up the option it had on his services for next year.
Kaltenborn insists that the fact the team could offer him no means for advancement was the primary motivation for the decision, with rookie Sergey Sirotkin expected to be partnered by a more experienced driver in 2014.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with his driving,” said Kaltenborn when asked about the reasons for dropping Frijns.
“It’s the situation we are in, there’s no point in holding onto somebody when you know that you maybe cannot give the driver what he wants. We’ve never held onto any drivers like that and it just wouldn’t be fair for his career.
“He has had a rough season and couldn’t do all that he wanted on the driving side but with the little driving he has done it wouldn’t be fair to judge anything. He remains a very talented driver.”
Kaltenborn is unsure what the future holds for Frijns, with the Dutchman now looking for another team to take him on.
“It’s very difficult to say that,” said Kaltenborn on whether she anticipated Frijns will be signed by another team.
“What I can say is that our engineers [said] it was more than reasonably good feedback he gave [when he tested], they were very happy actually.
“That just tells you in what situation F1 itself is that even such talented drivers have to look at other aspects as well for their career. That situation is really not healthy here overall in F1.”
Kaltenborn also suggested Frijns and his management should put more time into trying to raise funding to open more doors in F1 given the current economic climate.
When asked if they should do more work on that aspect, she replied: “I think they do, clearly.”