Gutierrez tipped to stay at Sauber

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Esteban Gutierrez is tipped to remain at Sauber for a second season.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Gutierrez set for second Sauber seat (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“The team’s original three-year Mexican sponsorship deals ended this season, and while Gutierrez could offer continued support from his backers, it was understood that Monisha Kaltenborn was not keen to continue the arrangement.”

Chris Pook on the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey (Racer)

“This is an extremely complicated temporary circuit, by far the most complicated temporary circuit that I have ever seen.”

Perez admits he feared F1 exit (Autosport)

“I was close [to leaving F1] because the [McLaren] decision came very late, and I was not willing to join the smaller teams.”

Chapman’s final years (MotorSport)

Chapman in 1981: “I shall seriously reconsider… whether Grand Prix racing is still what it purports to be: the pinnacle of sport and technological achievement. Unfortunately, this appears to be no longer the case and, if one does not clean it up, Formula One shall end up in a quagmire of plagiarism, chicanery and petty rule interpretation forced by lobbies manipulated by people for whom the sport has no meaning.”


Comment of the day

Some concern over next year’s tyres after Nico Rosberg’s high-speed puncture yesterday:

There’s a big difference between tyres which wear quickly to provide interesting races, and tyres that explode. I hope that Pirelli know the difference, because it certainly didn’t look like it in 2013.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

And happy birthday to Karl Wendlinger who is 45 today.

He was one of the three rising stars of Mercedes’ sports car team in the early nineties, along with Michael Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Helmut Marko also aided the Austrian driver’s ascent into Formula One.

But his career was disrupted by a serious crash at Monaco in 1994 while driving for Sauber which left him with head injuries. He returned in 1995, bookending the season at Sauber, but seemed to have lost his edge.

Since leaving F1 he has raced in touring cars and sports cars, and shared victory in the 1999 FIA GT championship with Chrysler team mate and fellow ex-F1 driver Olivier Beretta.

Image © Sauber

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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76 comments on “Gutierrez tipped to stay at Sauber”

  1. I’m going to really, really disappointed if VDG ends up without a race seat for next year. He made mistakes, but especially the second half of his season was impressive, especially considering he’s a rookie. I don’t understand why @keithcollantine rated Pic higher either to be honest. VDG’s lows may have been worse than Pic’s, but VDG was responsible for the few memorable moments Caterham has had this year. He’s no future champion, but I bet he’d do great given some more experience and perhaps a faster car.

    1. has = have

    2. He’ll be at Caterham. EJ said he’ll be alongside Ericsson and as he hasn’t had one wrong so far, I won’t be doubting this one. As you say, van der Garde had all of Caterham’s stand-out moments, he was the better driver in the 2nd half of the season, and he brings useful sponsorship. It’s an absolute no-brainer for me.

      1. @deej92 Not with all the talk about Kobyashi coming back and taking the seat from Adam Cooper as well. So it looks back for both 2013 drivers that were at Caterham.

        1. @magillagorilla I’ll put my hands up I shouldn’t have been so confident as it does seem there could be a twist. It would be the 2nd year in a row that both drivers have been changed!

        2. Looks bad for both*

    3. I completely agree – I think I had to be among the firsts who played down VDG after what he did in the first half of the season, but the guy had completely and utterly won me over with his performances in the second half. It was as if his beating of Pic in Hungary made him believe he can do it – so he did it.

      Obviously he’s not a Vettel, not even a Bottas or Bianchi – for who the future seems bright – but he certainly did a better job than Pic in my eyes. If anything for showing a tremendous improvement to bring it a draw between them whereas Pic arguably stagnated ever since entering F1 last year.

    4. agree – all rookies, except Chilton maybe, would deserve at least another season based on the performances they showed this year and especially how much they improved in the 2nd half.

    5. I don’t understand why keithcollantine rated Pic higher either to be honest.

      Agreed, I rated VDG 18th and Pic 20th. I certainly wasn’t expecting much from Van der Garde, but he has really surprised me in a positive way. If he gets another year at Caterham or Marussia or wherever I would be perfectly fine with that.

    6. I’m sorry but this is just ridiculous, why do people judge the backmarkers on ‘stand out moments’ let’s put it this way, if Caterham had a point scoring car this year then you wouldn’t be rating VDG higher than Pic because you would notice Pic would have much more points, but because they both didn’t score this year then people judge them on opinion or ‘stand out moments’ but shall we remember that Pic has the highest average race position of all the backmarkers, and if you want a ‘stand out moment’ then what about when Pic was running ahead of Bottas and Gutierrez in Silverstone, I don’t see why when VDG was on slicks on a drying track in Monaco and Belgium everyone thought he was amazing but in Monaco he crashed into Maldonado, and Pic was ahead of him after lap 1 then in Belgium Pic started last (no fault of his own) then overtook both Marussia’s and was catching VDG then retired with a mechanical failure. All of Pic’s retirements have been mechanical failures, where as VDG had collisions with Webber and Hulkenberg in Canada, collision with Chilton in Australia, collision with a Williams in Monaco, collision with Bianchi in Suzuka. I just don’t see why people think because VDG is a rookie that means he can screw up as many times as he likes then we rate him higher than Pic. VDG is at prime age as well, he’s 28 when most drivers are at their prime, by the time VDG is considered ‘experienced’ he’ll be retiring.

      1. If they had a points-scoring car then van der Garde would’ve had more in the 2nd half of the season because he improving as Pic stagnated. While Pic was picking up reprimands for driving out of the pits when the red light was showing, ignoring the red light call to visit the weighbridge, and ignoring yellow flags (the penalties would be a lot worse in a points-scoring car), van der Garde was improving, delivering clean, solid performances.

        It took van der Garde some races to get up to speed, which was to be expected being a rookie, but you could then see he was the better driver compared to Pic, who was in his 2nd year.

        1. I’ll agree that VDG had a better end to the season, however Pic had a similar issue to Raikkonen, he was struggling with understeer which doesn’t suit his smooth driving style, VDG is more agressive so the new tyres suited his style, lets also remember that Pic finished ahead in Italy, Suzuka, Korea and was running over 20 seconds ahead of VDG in Brazil before his suspension failure. Also the incidents with the red light weren’t as black and white as they seem, when Pic first did it he thought the light was for the car behind and the second time the green light was on 5 seconds before the he crossed the red, so he most likely saw the green then it went red as he was near the pit exit so he was probably focusing on the pit exit rather than the light. I know the issues were Pic’s fault however his offences weren’t as dangerous or reckless as VDG’s offences.

    7. I think Pic was still better than Van der Garde over the course of the season but VDG seemed to have improved his performance level in the second half of the season and we have to remember that the Frenchman is more experienced, too. I also believe that one year is not really enough to properly evaluate a rookie these days and that it’s unfair not to give him more time. I don’t think Chilton will ever demonstrate anything impressive but I won’t be unhappy to see VDG and Gutierrez in F1 also in 2014.

  2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    20th December 2013, 0:11

    I know it’s easy to overreact to all the Pirelli-blowing up stuff, especially after last season. But I really don’t think this is anything to be concerned with. Obviously it’s great that Nico wasn’t hurt. But, If Pirelli are going to make their tyres considerably more durable for next years torque loading, then it should be fine…. Right?

    Personally, I doubt we’ll see any tyre blowouts next year.

    1. It is a bit worrying, if you think about it. They have all the data from this year and yet someone from Pirelli thought this compound was a good idea for the 2014 cars when it couldn’t withstand the torque from a 2013 car. If that is indeed the cause of the blowout, then someone, somewhere in the Pirelli factory is way over his head.

      1. Better they know for certain than risk an untested design.

        1. @raceprouk Well Rosberg might argue they did risk an untested design, after losing control at 200mph…

          1. Deity forbid they risk an untested design in testing

      2. @gicu Can you refer me to the source which confirms the tyre failure was due to the tyre not being able to handle the required torque because I’ve obviously missed that one?

  3. Wow! Having forgotten about the Pirelli test taking place, I just thought Nico was making a silly joke about something happening in the simulator…..

  4. I think the concern over the tyres is perhaps unseated, as these are of course prototype designs deliberately being tested to check they are of sufficient capabilities to tolerate the stresses a current F1 car will exert on them.

    It is, as it says on the tin, a test. And a test is defined as:

    a procedure intended to establish the quality, reliability performance of a product – especially before it is put into widespread use.

    That is exactly what Pirelli are doing, and so exposing a flaw now is I would say actually a good thing – they now know the limits.

    1. Testing should first be done on test rigs, in a controlled manner, not on vehicles with people in them. This is not some DYI shelving that you put in your garage and you test it by putting some boxes on top to see if it holds up.

      I’d say that, given that the problems they had in 2013 as well, there is something seriously wrong in how they approach the development of new tires.

      1. The tyre was lab tested before being fitted to the car; that satisfies your assertion.

  5. I’m happy for Gutierrez. He had some silly mistakes in the early part of season (and yes, though a few in the latter part of the year, the number reduced), but he matured for the second half – that was when he started to get into Q3s, he got his first points, he pulled off some good racing along with overtakes. He’s a clever guy that seemingly needs to learn, but I feel he can use his lessons in a good way. We also heard from Sauber staff (or maybe even Monisha Kaltenborn, I can’t recall it) that his feedback was very helpful and he understood what to tell the engineers and mechanics, so his one year experience (plus the two being a test driver) with the team will surely help him next year.

    1. There are much more worthy candidates that should get a chance. Gutierrez had his chance, not even considering the miss-takes, he is plain and simple to slow. Next please.

      We don’t need pay drivers ruining chances for possible talent, by being mediocre in F1.

      1. Of course he was slow compared to Hulkenberg but I think every rookie should have at least two seasons to prove themselves, specially if the car was as bad as the Sauber.

        No excuses next year though, if he gets beaten by Sutil then by all means show him the door.

      2. I completely agree with you @Kimi4WDC. He scored next to nothing, especially comparing him to Hulkenberg.

      3. He bit “4 seasons Hulk” a couple times and is great grid starter, he score more points that any rookie, even he jump in F1 one yr earlier as Perez left the seat to go to Mclaren.
        I think Gutierrez will bit Sutil more convincingly than DiResta could.

  6. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    20th December 2013, 1:36

    So Colin Chapman was not only a great engineer, but also a prophet. That quote seems to be referred to 2014 F1, CVC, Bernie and every team director who prefers to be secured by a driver swimming in a vault, rather than a talent like Hulkenberg. Kudos to Vijai Malya who will take the risk with 2 great drivers.

    1. Two things:

      a) Brilliant quote there from Chapman.
      b) Lets not use the words “Vijay Mallya” and “risk” in the same sentence.

      1. Really? For all the guys problems and shady business dealings, he’s still adamant that he wants the best drivers *he can afford* because he wants to win (and collect Bernie’s prize money).

    2. @omarr-pepper just call him Nostradamus

  7. In that Lotusf1 picture, both Grosjean and Maldonado look at ease , but I can’t quite say the same about Boullier

    1. @hamilfan All of a sudden, those rumours don’t seem quite so outlandish….he does seem a bit ill-at-ease being alongside the pastor.

      1. Or covering for Grosjean and loose sponsors.

  8. i know in Maldonado you have a race winner, and grosjean who had a fantastic end to 2013 and is definitely f1’s most improved driver BUT theres still something about that partnership which makes me understand Boulliers apparent concerned expression lol

    1. Just a thought, but have you ever seen Boullier actually smiling . . .

      1. @timothykatz
        I believe he did after Grosjean left Webber eating dust at the start of Austin this year

    2. I learnt my lesson when I bought a ‘Lotus Racing’ cap at the race in 2010. They changed their name, dumped Heikki and I lost all affection for the team.
      Same for ‘Lotus’ now. Having Kimi on the team was a master stroke, having Kubica when he was around but I cringe every time I think of Maldonado being in the team next year.
      I just barrack for drivers and not teams now.

    3. MAL money is not coming thru yet, Quantum money the same, all the guys in pic need to get paid or simply had first closeup with MAL without “vanity panel”

  9. It’s ironic that Lotus don’t have ‘the hulk’ next year but they do have someone who has no control over their temperament and is most likely to cause mayhem and destruction on the circuit.

    1. Nicely put :)
      So Lotus did get the hulk after all ;)

  10. Errr, why Ericsson? Does he bring sponsorship? I suppose he does, because it’s not like he’s a better driver than Sam Bird, or Fabio Leimer, or Antonio Felix Da Costa, or James Calado, or Robin Frijns, or Will Stevens, or Stoffel Vandoorne, or Felipe Nasr, or Kevin Korjus, or Tio Ellinas, or…

    What is it was experimenting with GP2 midfielders? Last year Valsecchi and Razia were ignored whilst Gutierrez, Van der Garde and Chilton got seats, and this year Bird and Leimer are set to get the cold shoulder whilst Ericsson and Nasr get drives (Nasr is looking set to get Chilton’s Marussia seat). The driver market in 2013 is about as fair as the Rwandan judicial system…

    1. They should make it a condition of the Superlicence. Top three in GP2 or Renault 3.5, or GP3 champion. That would add some bite to the last few rounds (more than double points ever would!)

      1. That would rule out Paul di Resta and Sebastian Vettel ironically.

        1. Bullfrog, you do realise that the FIA’s licence system already states that superlicences are normally only issued to top three finishers in GP2 or FR3.5 and certain Formula 3 champions anyway? The other drivers qualify under the clause that allows them to earn a superlicence based on proving their competence via testing an F1 car, which means that their entry is conditional on them proving they are capable of driving an F1 car in a safe manner at high speed.

          If you were to take that rule and strictly enforce it – i.e. removing the clause that allows drivers to earn a licence via testing an F1 car – you would have disqualified a sizeable number of drivers who competed in 2013 if, at the time they entered F1, a similar rule was in force.

          After all, by that reasoning Alonso would have been ineligible, having only finished 4th in F3000 (the forerunner to GP2), as would Raikkonen, having never competed in anything above Formula Renault 2.0 before jumping straight into F1, and also Webber, who only finished 4th in the British Formula 3 championship (which, at the time, would be equivalent to GP3).

          Add to that the fact that Vettel and di Resta would also be ineligible under such a system, and you would have ended up ruling out nearly a quarter of the current grid by such a system, including three world championship winning drivers.

          Even more ironically, under the very system that Bullfrog proposes most of the drivers that are derided for being pay drivers would automatically qualify – for example, van der Garde is a Formula Renault 3.5 Champion, Maldonado was a top three finisher in FR3.5 and a GP2 championship winner and Gutierrez is a GP3 champion and a top 3 finisher in GP2.

          Felipe Nasr, equally, would earn a place given he won the British F3 championship at a time when GP3 and British F3 cars were comparable in performance, whilst Ericsson, having won the Japanese Formula 3 title in 2009, would also technically qualify.

  11. So Sirotkin will not drive (as I expected really). On an off-topic note, he is listed on Wikipedia as confirmed, which I think is preposterous. These guys clearly don’t know their stuff.

    1. You do realise that if you want to, you can edit that Wikipedia article and say Taki Inoue is confirmed for that seat, right?

      1. I did edit Wikipedia articles for a while (not F1 though) but got fed up by endless discussions so I’ll let you add Inoue or Badoer-Smedley. @optimaximal @william-brierty

        (I have to say though that Wikipedia is usually quite good regarding factual information on F1 and many other things. Just don’t use it for anything related to politics or religion.)

    2. @mike-dee – I think he was listed as confirmed due to the fact that he actually had a contract to drive with them, but obviously a condition of that contract is that he had a super-license, which he doesn’t, and therefore the contract is null and void. I suppose Sauber didn’t contractually agree to help him gain a super-license, or evoked all of the legal might at their disposal to ensure that they don’t have him anywhere near their car. Right, I’m off to amend the confirmed Alonso-Raikkonen line-up at Ferrari to Badoer-Smedley (Rob was always meant to be a driver)…

      1. Didn’t he get the super-license some months ago in Italy?

  12. In For Your Eyes Only, a bald supervillain offers to buy James Bond “a delicatessen … in stainless steel!”.

    In Formula 1, a bald supervillain joins Lotus and is photographed at what appears to be the opening of a delicatessen, possibly in stainless steel.


      1. @cjpdk – This is after that same team sought investment from Quantum, a group that shares the same name as a cabal of evil businessmen from the Bondverse whose purpose is as ill-defined as the source of their money.

        How does anyone else not see this!? Lotus is clearly trying to take over the world.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys Don’t worry about it – if Lotus can’t pay an F1 driver in full they probably can’t pay their private armies either.

  13. I understand why no driver wants to leave McLaren for Caterham but I think it wouldn’t be unfair if Perez was forced to go to a backmarker team. I think he was more or less on the same level as Heikki Kovalainen in 2008/9 – he was closer to his team mate in 2013 but the team mate wasn’t one of the all-time greats. And Kovalainen hasn’t scored a point since the McLaren days despite several giant-killing performances with Caterham. I believe Perez would face the same fate if he hadn’t extra 15 million € to offer.

    1. I think so too. If you wonder about where Perez can go, he abandoned Ferrari, got kicked out of McLaren and RB is taking young drivers. Other than that, there’s Mercedes, who have a stable driver pairing, and Lotus, who could be nowhere next year. The only way for him to get to the top, I think, will be to build a team around himself, or luck into a rocketship.

    2. neither was Kovalainens team mate

    3. I believe Force India wanted a change of scenery and hired Perez because of his talent. He’s experienced podiums and been at a top team, something their previous drivers hadn’t had, except for Fisichella. The €15m sponsorship he brings is just a nice extra.

    4. Perez leaving Mclaren maybe just the best thing that happen to him a second season with mclaren dog will be worst, than leaving the team.
      Most driver in the grid have been at mclaren, caterham will not have enough seats.
      Perez is quite exciting to watch, is not a MAL/GRO crasher, is a guy that fights on the line but fair and he will be huge next yr if beating Hulk and getting some more podiums and ideally a win, but most sweet will be to FI beating Mclaren in the WDC in the process.

  14. I think it was a good thing rosberg posted that tweet as I’ve heard those tyre had none kind of testing on them so Rosberg and anyone that tried that rubber was a guinea pig and in this day and age that’s unthinkable, to jeopardize someone’s life is irresponsible to say the least and excusable so this time Pirelli really deserved this sting, people sometimes don’t respect their work and unknowingly criticize it but to dismiss such a safety standard is a crime.

    1. One tyre fails and you want to call Pirelli up on negligence?

      I think the OED should add a new entry:
      ‘Pirelli – A company that exists solely to be a piñata for Formula 1 fans’

      1. @raceprouk If you read the BBC piece you will learn that in this case Pirelli didn’t bothered in having any sort of testing before bringing those tyres to the test, it is obvious that the test are for tyre testing but in this case

        The FIA, which governs the sport, has an observer at the test and will expect an explanation for the tyre failure.

        It was understood Pirelli would no longer conduct safety testing on the track and that the testing would be done on a rig, before durability and performance testing was conducted on a circuit.

        The FIA has banned Pirelli from bringing completely untested tyres for the live tests, something that is suppose to be a basic safety measure.

        1. a tyre which had only been tested in the laboratory

          Directly from that BBC article.

    2. Oh please. Come off it.

    3. I’m with @peartree on this one, F1 drivers aren’t crash test dummies. It’s fairly pathetic that a tyre manufacturer with Pirelli’s experience aren’t aware that their design is that unstable (that is assuming they weren’t deliberately stress-testing at this point, in which case I’d refer to my original point).

      1. You can do all the simulations and lab/stress testing you want. Eventually though, you will have to fit the tyres to an actual car and do actual laps. Only then will you know for certain whether the design works or not.

        1. @raceprouk
          Sure, sometimes components fail in testing, but the fact that they already experienced so many failures last year and still didn’t fix the issue with their new tyres doesn’t speak very well for Pirelli’s expertise.

          You can do all the simulations and lab/stress testing you want.

          Well either they didn’t do enough, or didn’t do it well enough. The first points to negligence, the second to incompetence.

          1. @george – Design a test that guarantees 100% reliability. While you’re doing that, you may as well make a perpetual motion machine and find Lord Lucan. That way you’ll have done three impossible things.

      2. The mixes weren’t lab tested that’s why I stressed how reckless Pirelli has been for not doing it especially considering that people aren’t immortal.

        The FIA, which governs the sport, has an observer at the test and will expect an explanation for the tyre failure.

        It was understood Pirelli would no longer conduct safety testing on the track and that the testing would be done on a rig, before durability and performance testing was conducted on a circuit.

        1. a tyre which had only been tested in the laboratory

          Directly from the BBC article you obviously didn’t read.

    4. Yes increidible they didn’t test them before the test cause doing a test without testing them is not a responsible test

  15. It’s the very big “FIRE EXIT” sign that makes the Lotus picture.

    1. I admit i laughed hard seeing Pastor all smiley under that sign.

  16. No Hamilton/DiResta trial news today? I was half expecting to hear that Roscoe had eaten some vital piece of evidence…

  17. If Sauber resign Gutierrez, they should consider this the Mexican’s second and final chance. If Gutierrez fails to impress again, he should be sacked for good.

    Gutierrez has said that he deserves a place on the grid with his performances from Singapore onwards being used as evidence to support this. However whilst he did show signs of improvement, his track record shows he still has someway to go before I believe he has a long term future in this sport. At the end of the day he still only had one points finish, and considering where the car was towards the end of the season, that really isn’t good enough.

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