12/19/13 (GMM) Esteban Gutierrez is set to secure one of the four last race seats on the 2014 grid.
Bianca Garloff, the correspondent for the German publication Sport Bild, reported exclusively that Sauber will make the announcement about Adrian Sutil's teammate on Friday.
The news will heighten speculation Sauber's Russian rescue deal is on the rocks, as the teen Sergey Sirotkin was expected to make his grand prix debut next year for the struggling Swiss team.
Mexican Gutierrez, 22, made his F1 debut this year for Sauber, which has been backed by the Mexican telcom Telmex since Sergio Perez drove in 2011 and 2012.
He was recently spotted visiting Caterham's UK headquarters, but Gutierrez staying at Sauber would firm up Giedo van der Garde's chances of remaining in green overalls next year, possibly to be joined by the Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson.
The other remaining 2014 vacancy is at Marussia, but team boss John Booth said the Briton Max Chilton is likely to remain Jules Bianchi's teammate.
"We are very close (to re-signing) with Max, very close," he told Britain's Sky this week.
"He wants to stay and we want him to stay so it's a matter of sorting the details out really."
12/04/13 Esteban Gutierrez has leapt to the front of the queue to move from Sauber to Caterham for 2014.
Gutierrez’s 2013 teammate Nico Hulkenberg has already announced his switch to Force India, and now the 22-year-old Mexican is tipped to also leave the financially-struggling Swiss team.
The Swiss newspapers Blick and Neue Zercher Zeitung separately report this week that Gutierrez has been spotted visiting Caterham’s UK headquarters.
Last month, the Telmex-backed Gutierrez admitted he was not sure if he would be staying at Sauber for 2014.
“We’ll see what’s going to happen," he said.
“Obviously, we have been looking to different options, even if my idea is to continue with Sauber, because we have been working on a good relationship for a long time."