Gutierrez wants to lead Sauber in second year

2014 F1 season

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Esteban Gutierrez says his goal for the season ahead is “to achieve being a leader for the team”.

“It’s my second year now as a race driver in Formula One,” said Gutierrez after the team’s new car was revealed. “With experience, generally, a lot of new things are coming up and I think that my involvement with the team is very important in order so we can meet our expectations as a team.”

“And as a driver I want to take the next step. I think my approach can be much different to last year.”

Gutierrez said he began work at the factory in anticipation of the new season even before his place at the team was confirmed for this year.

“It was quite a late call and the team confirmation as a race driver,” he said. “So even though it was quite late I spent some time in December here in the factory before even making the announcement.”

“As well I came in the beginning of January to do the seat fitting and spend some time with the engineers and now I’m back in the middle of January.”

The team have a lot to understand about the new cars, he added:

“This is something that takes me close to what is happening in inside the team, inside the progress with the new car and also to step by step understand what’s really changing with the new rules because it’s so many things that even when I ask the engineers at the moment they say ‘it’s too complex, we need time to explain’ and this will come up with the experience in all the pre-season testing.”

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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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47 comments on “Gutierrez wants to lead Sauber in second year”

  1. Given his teammate’s laughable talents, Sauber had better hope that Gutierrez “achieves being a leader for the team” as well.

    1. Why is everybody bashing Sutil? He was about equal to di Resta who was about equal to Hulkenberg, yet everyone praises Hulkenberg all the time and talks bad about Sutil. He is going to deliver some decents results with Sauber, wait and see.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        26th January 2014, 17:32

        @saints – You could perhaps do with rephrasing that. Sutil was about equal to Di Resta in his rookie year, and Di Resta in his second year was about equal to Hulkenberg who had spent the previous year as a reserve…until Hulkenberg started humiliating Di Resta from the German Grand Prix onward. No matter how you cut it, the only remotely sensible conclusion is that Di Resta is better than Sutil, and that Hulkenberg is miles better than both of them.

        1. @william-brierty – Definitely rephrased well. Sutil seems to have already demonstrated his talent level to its utmost. If he surprises and performs better, I’ll be very surprised.

          Gutierrez, on the other hand, might be able to further develop his talents and hopefully for Sauber has not yet reached his peak of performance. I wish Sauber well this season and hope they have a good car to give Gutierrez the best chance to show us what he can do.

          1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            27th January 2014, 19:55

            @bullmello – Owing to the fact that you are clearly such a fan of “Steve”, you really have to hope that he doesn’t have the same problem as Vergne or Piquet Jnr. Both have/had a fundamental aversion to the way an F1 car handles, particularly at low fuel despite being impressive further down the single seater ladder. The way Gutierrez clumsily picks up the throttle, and the subsequent audibly detectable wince from Martin Brundle, coupled with the downturn his junior career took as the power levels increased may suggest throttle modulation issues, something that will really be shown up by the “torquey” V6s. However because the rear traction vs torque levels of the 2014 cars will strongly resemble the Dallara GP2/11 chassis, the fact that he has GP2 experience may play into his hands.

          2. @william-brierty

            Owing to the fact that you are clearly such a fan of “Steve”

            That did make me chuckle. Being a fan of Sauber, they have made it really tough driver wise to pick between the lesser of evils, or more more like, the evil we do know vs. the one we think we know but are pinning our last 2014 hope for Sauber on. I really, really like team Sauber, but the closer we get to the season start, their driver choices are looking even worse than they clearly did when announced. I expect nothing from Sutil, so “Steve”, surprise us, please!

          3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            28th January 2014, 15:47

            @bullmello – I concur most heartily about Sauber. They’re a good little team. Between 2010 and 2012 they built their team up each season, building a better car each year, which culminated in the C31, a triumph of a car when considered just how well it compared to the cars of infinitely richer teams. In 2013 they took a knock with the mediocre C32 and financial catastrophe, but I’m sure that a team is right up there with Lotus in being pound for pound the best out there will find form again soon.

            I also concur regarding your comment below relating to Hulkenberg. Although you may have been following F1 a while longer than I (I got hooked in ’85 and promptly became a motorsport journalist), I too get so much satisfaction in seeing a guy so young, so normal being so utterly extraordinary behind the wheel of a racing car. Following a young driver right up through the grass roots of motorsport, through single seaters and into F1, is one of the most rewarding things a fan can do, and I have had that pleasure with Hulkenberg. I’m an Alonso fan through and through, but it is comforting to know that there is someone to take Alonso’s baton of my allegiance when that grave day comes and he hangs his gloves up…

        2. I get your point. However I’m not saying that Hulkenberg isn’t better, I’m saying that Sutil isn’t that much worse but everyone makes it sound like he’s horrible.

          Also, Hulkenberg is good, but probably also the most overrated driver in F1.

          1. He’s widely regarded up and down the paddock by team principals and drivers alike as a top tier driver. Not sure how that is “overrated”

          2. I wouldn’t say overrated, though I am one of those people who can’t understand why he isn’t getting a top drive.

            In saying that, until he gets a top drive we’ll have to wait and see.

          3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            27th January 2014, 19:30

            @saints – What? Hulkenberg overrated? Would you like to elaborate on that point, what with him being arguably the most successful driver in the junior categories ever, getting pole position in a Williams, almost winning in a Force India, getting a Sauber on the second row of the grid and being hugely well regarded by team principals and top drivers alike? Quite frankly, the kid is a megastar, and his performances are every bit as impressive, if not more so, than those of Sebastian Vettel in his Toro Rosso days. The following can not be argued against: give Nico Hulkenberg a car good enough to win a race, and he will do just that. For me, he has every bit as big a career ahead of him as Hamilton and Vettel had in 2007.

          4. Drivers like Nico Hulkenberg are one of the reasons I do not tire of Formula 1 after being a fan since the mid 1960s. Despite all the changes in teams, regulations, cars and everything else, watching drivers excel against the odds is what keeps me riveted.

        3. Hulkenberg humiliated di Resta after Germany? Excepting of course Spa, Monza, Singapore where di Resta was faster… “Hulkenberg is/was miles better than di Resta” is a pretty shaky hypothesis given the facts.

          1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            27th January 2014, 19:46

            @madman32 – What? At Hockenheim Hulkenberg finished two places ahead of Paul having qualified fourth, which is where he finished at Spa whilst Di Resta finished tenth having had poor pace all race. Di Resta then got the upper hand in Singapore and then in qualifying at Suzuka, but with a fabulous start and race pace Nico finished five places ahead of him in seventh. However as of Korea, Hulkenberg’s season really took off, and other than his DNF at Abu Dhabi, he comfortably qualified and finished ahead of Di Resta at every race, often finishing more than four places ahead, before he finished the season nearly winning the Brazilian GP while Di Resta ended it in the wall. For me that is a fairly solid basis to say that Hulkenberg humiliated Di Resta in the second half of the 2012 given the the facts!

          2. @william-brierty
            di Resta outqualified Hulk at Spa. His poor race pace was due to a KERS failure.

            I think all that can be said about di Resta v Hulk in 2012 was that they were very closley matched, if anything di Resta was the more consistent and faster driver over the first 14 races, but Hulk dealt better with the conservative tyre choices over the last six races, and benefited from a gamble on a wet setup in Brazil.

            I really don’t think this is evidence to say that Hulk is/was miles better than di Resta. Far from it.

          3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            29th January 2014, 13:58

            @william-brierty – I really don’t think there is evidence to suggest that it was close! The fact that bar Singapore and Monza, and his retirement at Abu Dhabi, Hulkenberg finished well ahead of Di Resta at every race in the second half of the season blatantly acts as evidence suggesting that Hulkenberg had a comfortable advantage. And quite frankly, he shouldn’t have had, owing to the fact that because he spent 2011 as a reserve, he had limited experience of the Pirellis tyres and the lower levels of rear downforce brought about by the 2012 aerodynamic regulations, so it is quite remarkable that he managed to so profoundly beat Di Resta. Yes, it was arguably close over the course of the season, but that was really only because of circumstance, and the true status quo became perceivable in the final rounds, and I think few people would deny that.

      2. Saints. I don’t think so regardless of that Guttierez won’t beat Sutil

    2. I think “laughable” is a tad too harsh on Sutil there @red-andy, but overall I agree that Sauber better hope that Guttierez indeed does make a step forward and prove himself as a team leader if the team want’s any impressive results like they had with Hulkenberg last year or with both Perez and Kobayashi during parts of the previous season.

  2. Leader?


    1. @jcost – And if he said “I am happy with what I achieved in 2013, and want to keep doing that”, you would be mocking him for that, too.

      He might not have enjoyed the greatest debut season, but at least he is forward looking. He has set a clear objective for himself, one that demands improvement. And even if he fails, he will likely get something out of.

  3. i see he has gone for what looks like a Senna-inspired yellow helmet. was it always like this?

    1. He’s always sported the Mexican racing colors, although they’ve always been in a lighter hue than Royal Blue/Gold.
      This year he completely ditched the ‘gold’ and went for a more greenish yellow, and he’s also incorporated the Mexican flag colors more prominently, that’s why you’re seeing Senna in the Yellow-blue-green.

      1. Now that I’ve seen his last year’s helmet I know what you mean. It did end up looking a bit Senna-ish, though…

        BTW, didn’t know royal blue and gold were the mexican racing colors. Thanks for the info!

  4. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    26th January 2014, 16:31

    Good luck with that, Esteban…

    OK, Sutil is not the finest racing driver in the world, but pffffff…

  5. Leader of the non-scorers for sure…

  6. This guy’s neck is so massive that I doubt that even Sutil could do something to him

    1. @ifuel I see what you did there :D

  7. Why has he stolen Lewiss old helmet?

  8. At least when he fails to score points he can give Sauber his puss-in-boots eyes :-)

  9. That’s a bold statement!

  10. Glad he got a second season and hope he can use this chance. He undoubtedly had a rocky start but his performance towards the end wasn’t that bad.

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      26th January 2014, 17:37

      @tmf42 – No, he wasn’t bad towards the end of season, he was just unbelievably average, and with excellent drivers like Frijns, Vandoorne, Da Costa, Bird and Di Resta either spending 2014 as a reserve or in a lower category, its a bit of same that some teams are so poor that we have to tolerate mediocrity at the pinnacle of motorsport…

      1. @william-brierty yes he was average, but like CHI he improved significantly in the 2nd half and they should be given another season. In general I think with the limited test and track time young drivers have these days it’s important to give them more time.
        The rest of the 2014 line-up isn’t too bad either – only Ericsson seems to be a typical pay driver.
        The others like Frijns, Vandoorne, Da Costa, Bird have all a TD spots, so they are on a good route – especially with the extended free practice in 2014.
        Di Resta had 3 years and was beaten in the championship by his teammates twice – he is good enough for F1 but I don’t know the circumstances why he didn’t get a seat for 2014 – personally I won’t miss him.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          26th January 2014, 20:27

          @tmf42 – Chilton drove in FP1 in 2012, diid almost all of Marussia’s preseason testing, and even with that mileage, still wound up comfortably behind Bianchi. The kid is just not fast enough for F1, and I really don’t see how anyone can deny that. Whilst Gutierrez is perhaps not in that boat, his future remains secured by sponsorship, not performances. And with simulators, young driver tests and crucially, young driver support programmes, there’s plenty of aid for young drivers in modern F1. And quite frankly the results suggest that, with the potential of Hulkenberg, Perez, Bianchi and Di Resta perceivable within a few short races. Such potential, except in the cases of Bottas and Bianchi, has not been seen in the rookies of 2013, and for me that quite unnecessarily provoked suggestions of F1 not doing enough to help young drivers. F1 is a tough business, Gutierrez and Chilton failed to impress, and frankly their performances didn’t warrant second chance. I’m sure in the case of both Sauber and Marussia that sponsorship was the only motive to retain either of them…

          1. @william-brierty it all makes sense what you say and I don’t doubt that economics played a part in this – but I can’t say how much as I don’t know how much money each of them brings and what the alternatives were.

            though, Bianchi drove 9 FP1s in 2012 and had a lot more milage than Chilton (who drove only 1 FP1).
            Chilton was able to reduce the gap to Bianchi, which would indicate a sizeable performance improvement. Same with Gutierrez and Hulk.

            And that’s why I think that GUT deserves the 2nd season – giving him the boot after 1 season would be too harsh – imo.
            I’m not saying that he is the next superstar but if drivers would be measured against 1 season, it might burn too many talents – for example, Button’s performance in 2001 wasn’t much better than GUTs.
            And with the limited test milage it’s even more important to give young guys a bit more time if they show improvements in their first season.

          2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            27th January 2014, 18:20

            @tmf42 – It’s true what you say about Bianchi’s Force India and Ferrari mileage explaining some of the gap, but I really don’t know how you can’t imagine the maintaining either Chilton or Gutierrez isn’t economically motivated when both bring such substancial sponsorship to the table. The careers of both, but especially of Chilton, is grounded on the financial backing, and in the case of Chilton especially, it remains the only motive to retain him.

            Gutierrez though is a strange one to fathom. He won European Formula BMW, and in 2010 he won the GP3 championship against excellent drivers like Wickens, Muller and Rossi with utter surety, and it was after that that some even dubbed him “the chosen one”. However that was whilst he was in lower powered categories, but in GP2, he started to struggle with the power and the prevalence of throttle modulation, as illustration by his failure to win the title in 2011/2 against rather uninspiring drivers proves. That trend continued in F1, and his poor throttle control really became a problem. I can’t really see that improving in 2014 with the immense torque, and if I am to go via your perquisite, of closing the gap to your teammate, then Gutierrez didn’t really improve in 2013 enough, in my opinion, to warrant a second season of evaluation with so many guaranteed talents in the junior categories…

      2. Gutierrez arguably achieved as much (or more) as those people in the junior categories.

  11. He will do a good job this year

  12. Let the kid dream..

  13. i thought his goal this year was to start shaving!

    1. He doesn’t even have facial hair yet so i doubt that’s really necessary:p

  14. You’ve got to be kidding me..
    The guy that wansn’t even ready for last year(and he got the results to confirm that ) wants to be leading the team? Give me a break please…please go home Esteban.

  15. Given how much he was trounced by Hulkenburg, he can only get better right?

  16. Gutierrez makes good jokes!

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