Sauber rookie Esteban Gutierrez (LEFT) believes partnering Nico Hulkenberg in 2013 will be highly beneficial for his own development as a grand prix driver.
Hulkenberg outscored his 2012 teammate Paul di Resta during last year's Formula 1 campaign and finished the season with a starring drive at Interlagos, when he overtook the McLarens to lead at various points of the race. The German can also boast a pole position during his debut F1 campaign for Williams in addition to an outstanding record in the junior formulae.
Gutierrez, who earned the inaugural GP3 Series crown in 2010 and finished third in GP2 last year, believes Hulkenberg will act as a valuable benchmark over the coming season.
"Nico is for me a great reference," he said. "He has three years of experience, and also his level of communication with the team is very high.
"For me at the beginning it is important to have a good reference and I am very grateful to have this base to then progress to my potential. He is very open to work with, we have a good communication so far and generally the mentality is similar, so that's positive."
Gutierrez completed 252 laps in the first pre-season test at Jerez, more than any other driver. The 21-year-old said that despite a minor fitness concern he was pleased with his consistency.
"For me it's a new team because I have never been directly involved. It's a great time to adapt to all the procedures and the operations," he said. "We tried different seats, pedals and tyres and in general the car was very positive. The main point was trying to look for consistency and we achieved that.
"Thankfully I feel very comfortable and I did a lot of laps. The neck is quite stiff, which is something I have to keep working on, but it's not a big issue. On the other things, I feel good."