Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Sochi Autodrom, 2014

Ferrari appoint Gutierrez as test and reserve driver

2015 F1 season

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Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Sochi Autodrom, 2014Esteban Gutierrez has joined Ferrari as the team’s new test and reserve driver.

Gutierrez, who spent the past two seasons racing for Ferrari’s engine customer Sauber, is without a race seat for next year.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to Esteban who, although young, has plenty of experience relating to the new generation of Formula One cars,” said Ferrari’s team principal Maurizio Arrivabene.

“I am sure that, with his experience, he will make an important contribution to the development work of the team in the simulator. Welcoming Esteban also means opening the gates of Ferrari to a driver from Mexico, a country where the Scuderia still has a lot of fans, just as was the case fifty years ago in the days of the Rodriguez brothers.”

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Keith Collantine
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45 comments on “Ferrari appoint Gutierrez as test and reserve driver”

  1. Welcoming Esteban also means opening the gates of Ferrari to a driver from Mexico, a country where the Scuderia still has a lot of fans

    Heck, THAT’S a reason ! If so, Ferrari needs a driver from every single country…

    1. By that logic, they need an Italian #1 driver, because no country has more Ferrari fans than Italy. I can’t understand why would they hire him.

    2. @fer-no65 I’m afraid that is just the brand name for the pill whilst the real ingredient inside could be anything like:

      1. getting to learn some useful information from his stint with Sauber;

      2. trying to fulfil contract terms with Santander by keeping a Romance language driver in its roster;

      3. Ferrari is in deep trouble and so need money from Gutierrez’s backers;

      4. luring Slim and other Mexican sponsors from Force India and drive that team into extinction and help further Bunny Ecclestone’s ideas of three car teams;

      5. as an alternative to (4) above, by luring Force India’s sponsors try to push them into financial difficulty and pouch the team for low price and run it as a junior team a la Toro Rosso albeit with the Mercedes engines.

      The f1 fan in me says that of all these crazy thoughts the fourth one is the worst, but however being realistic, alas! that is what seems most likely to happen.

      1. @eclairstone

        1. getting to learn some useful information from his stint with Sauber.

        If there’s any…

        2. trying to fulfil contract terms with Santander by keeping a Romance language driver in its roster;

        Santarder’s spanish tho… it’d be like Petrobras hiring a portuguese.

        3. Ferrari is in deep trouble and so need money from Gutierrez’s backers;

        Is Slim still behind him?

        4. luring Slim and other Mexican sponsors from Force India and drive that team into extinction and help further Bunny Ecclestone’s ideas of three car teams;

        I think Force India has already covered Slim’s sponsorship. If I remember well, they announced it a couple of weeks ago.

        5. as an alternative to (4) above, by luring Force India’s sponsors try to push them into financial difficulty and pouch the team for low price and run it as a junior team a la Toro Rosso albeit with the Mercedes engines.

        Naaaaaaaaaaah….

        I want more, I want more :D

        1. 1. If there’s any…

          Ferrari have been designing bad cars for a few years and so has been Sauber in 2013 and 2014, so they want to learn any other different approach they could take which leads to another bad car ;)

          2. Santarder’s spanish tho… it’d be like Petrobras hiring a portuguese.

          Yes. But they have operations in Mexico too. With Fernando gone to McLaren, the next best Spanish driver they could have pouched is Carlos Sainz Jr. But, he wouldn’t relinquish his Toro Rosso drive and Felipe Nasr is not available too.

          3. Is Slim still behind him?

          I guess so but to a lesser extent than with Perez in Force India.

          4. I think Force India has already covered Slim’s sponsorship. If I remember well, they announced it a couple of weeks ago.

          I am looking at the long term plan here. :-P

          5. Naaaaaaaaaaah….

          Why not? They could learn much more about the dominant Mercedes hybrid Pus that way.

          I want more, I want more :D

          But there is no one to sponsor me to go to the Grands Prix to bring you more @fer-no65 :-P

        2. @fer-no65 yes Carlos Slim and Telmex are still backing Esteban and they back nearly every Mexican driver in junior formula all over the world (include Perez and Alfonso Celis Jr. from GP3). The way Slim backs Mexican drivers is pretty much no different from the way PDSVA back all Venezuelian drivers (Maldonado, Cecotto Jr., Roldofo ‘Not-So-Speedy’ Gonzales, just to name a few).

        3. Is Slim still behind him?

          Here you go @fer-no65 A new sponsorship agreement for Scuderia Ferrari

          After all, I am ‘Bunny Eclairstone’ ;)

      2. Put your tinfoil hats on, kids!

  2. While many don’t rate him, I don’t think Gutierrez is quite as awful as the bad press he gets. This could prove to be a shrewd move for him if Kimi decides he’s had enough at the end of the season. Though to be honest, I imagine they’d sooner take Hulkenberg, Perez or even Vergne before they promoted him.

    1. Being a reserve driver means nothing these days when a race seat becomes available. It’s just a way of remaining in F1 whilst you’re not racing…

      1. You’re quite right, but if 3 car teams pop up suddenly and everyone else is tied up, he could be in luck!

      2. You never can tell, Gutierrez just might be faster than the Kimi that we see today. Bianchi was instantly faster than Kimi in mid season testing even though he only drove the F14-T for the first time. I won’t be surprised if Gutierrez can match Kimi if not beat him during Friday practice next year. Gutierrez is not the finished article but he he was no slouch.

      3. @petebaldwin look at Antonio Felix da Costa…

    2. I’d say he is surely the most promising / able driver they have on their testing/simulator/reserve crew right now. Sure, if they do need a replacement for Kimi having his back done, he won’t do a stellar job (although that would probably be a lot to do with the car), but he is fast enough, and knows enough about the tech to get to the finish without making a mess of things.

      And off course doing the simulator work partnering Vettel (Kimi is not going to suddenly change) can be quite helpfull and he might learn a few things. @ben-n

      Apart from that, I think its a good thing when this means Ferrari can do a demo in Austin next year and another couple of demo runs in Mexico with a local driver (or in Brazil for that matter, just look who got a Fanboost in Formule E from).

      1. @bascb But also, Sauber don’t have a simulator – so does Gutierrez have any experience already? It looks like he might be learning that next year, too.

      2. @bascb @ben-n I believe that a good reserve driver is somebody who is going to be able to step into a car and be able to deliver a solid, if unspectacular job with it. Gutierrez may not be the quickest driver around, but provided he can keep his nose clean, he’ll surely deliver points if the car is up to it, which at the end of the day is the most that a reserve driver can do.

        1. I doubt it. First his no Hamilton, Alonso that can adapt easily to cars. Second he wasn’t great even when he learned a car and third is very hard to get things out of a car you are unfamiliar with no matter the experience as examples of Fisichella jumping to Ferrari and Kovalanien jumping to Lotus have showed.
          So unless Guitierrez gets lots of time in pre-season testing and quite a few practice one appearances he wouldn’t be able to get anything out of that car if suddenly for some reason he had to jump inside it and run it in a race.

    1. They’ve already shoved him out the door once, surely they wouldn’t take him back?

      1. Ferrari never “shoved” him, they praise him want him to wait bit more, but then Mclaren instead got him, Perez LEFT ferrari academy aiming for a winning car, which in hindsight was bad decision due to very bad car and declining team. McLaren didn’t drop Perez, fact is Mclaren bargain with Slim full championship sponsorship in order to keep him and the Big money man decide Mclaren, drop by Vodafone, was not going to cut it. Ferrari may get it (top dollar MX sponsorship) but only if they get to the top, then Perez or Gutierrez will get the seat.
        Is all about money, and the winning teams get lots.

  3. Curious decision and explanation. A business opportunity perhaps with the Mexican Grand Prix, with a demographic maybe ripe to be exploited, not as if he is going to get a Friday morning to test with either SV or KR giving up their seat.

  4. So what’s going to happen to Pedro de la Rosa and/or Marc Gené? I’m assuming with Alonso gone at least one of them will be sacked.

    1. Pedro de la Rosa to McLaren I suppose?

    2. Probably retirement of some sort from F1 and a move into WEC or WTCC. After all he will be 44 next year, and even though he’s not racing, that’s possibly too long in the tooth for Ferrari even if he is vastly experienced.

    3. And Rigon and Bertolini…

      Nothing. Gutierrez will take Bianchi’s place. Besides this change, the testing roster will remain the same

  5. Forza Jules!
    We are really missing you!

    1. And Ferrari misses you too apparently.

  6. There’s worse drivers they can stick in that seat. I’m sure Ferrari would have been monitoring his ‘progress’ during his time at Sauber. At the end of the day, should they need to call a driver up, I would rather a team like Ferrari used a driver with actual F1 experience as oppose to Rafaelle Marciello, who is insanely quick but needs to hone is racecraft still. If they have a solid car he could well score some points along the way too.

  7. They didn’t look hard enough to get the worst driver. Maldonado surely wants to be a part of Ferrari.

  8. Two things puzzle me about this: a) Vergne is available and b) why would Ferrari need Telmex money[the only reason anyone would ever want Esteban]?

    1. This is Ferrari. To you think they will accept a driver rejected by Red Bull?

      Telmex money means more money and they always welcome more money no matter how much they have. Mexico also is a country they can sell cars to silly rich folk because many people may be poor but that does not affect Ferrari’s bottom line that has the few eating on the misery of others as clients.

  9. Great news! I’m a huge Guti fan, disappointed, though, by his F1 career so far. I don’t think it’ll happen, but Massa spent an year as Ferrari test driver and that turned out well…
    Then I thought who he replaces in that role. I think it’s de la Rosa, Gené drives at promotional events and not linked to development, Rigon has never officially been reserve driver and is focused on the WEC, Badoer of course has gone (and look at how things are going without him!). But Marciello was appointed third driver in Austin if I remember well and he replaced Bianchi at the Abu Dhabi tests. I think he is the one who misses out on a great chance. I can see the logic behind Ferrari preferring to put Gutierrez in as a replacement rather than Marciello, but the Italian could actualy benefit from testing duties while they’re mostly obsolete for Gutierrez, who has two years’ experience of actual racing. Which whould help Ferrari if he hadn’t driven such uncompetitive cars and had actually helped develop them.
    Then again, they have the great James Calado driving for AF Corse too alongside Rigon, against Fisichella and Vilander, why not take him into the Academy, or into more direct roles?

    1. He might just take up some of Koboyashi’s workload.

  10. Are they trying to mould him like Massa? They have similar stories at this stage in their career, obviously talented but chronically inconsistent? Or maybe they just want his money…

    1. obviously talented? Really?

      1. Maybe compared to Chilton…

  11. I fear he is occupying a headset in the garage until Marciello is ready. I can’t see Ferrari putting Gutierrez in a race seat any time soon. He doesn’t have Bianchi’s talent (think he was being lined up for 2016).

  12. More than good enough to be a test driver for any team, has race experience and probably going to work his pants off for Ferrari. And ask Davide Valsecchi what being a reserve driver is worth when a seat actually crops up.

    Seems a fine pick.

  13. genius move putting a mediocre driver in an important position impacting greatly the development of the car. should be a great next few years at ferrari. luca badoer anyone?

    1. Badoer was the main test driver during Ferrari’s most dominant years, and back then, that meant a lot.

      1. Quite right Biggsy – Schumacher himself was highly complimentary of Badoer’s abilities as a test driver, ascribing much of Ferrari’s success in the early 2000’s to the tens of thousands of miles that Badoer racked up in testing parts for Ferrari in that era. Unless, that is, AJ is actually asking for the return of Luca Badoer given that his period as an active test driver for Ferrari corresponded to one of the longest sustained periods of success in their entire history…

    2. Oi, watch your mouth. Badoer was awesome. It is absolutely criminal that he was overlooked in mid-1999 to replace Schumacher after Silverstone. Poor fellow deserved a great car, and deserved to score points in his career. Never forget Nurburgring 1999.

      Badoer >>>>>>>>Guti

  14. Really? They could have picked Takei Inoue and been about as well off.

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