2016 F1 season driver rankings #21: Gutierrez

2016 F1 season review

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Esteban Gutierrez

Beat team mate in qualifying9/21
Beat team mate in race7/12
Races finished16/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate408/900

A scoreline of zero points to Esteban Gutierrez versus 29 for Romain Grosjean is a brutal verdict on Gutierrez’s efforts. Before the season ended Haas informed Gutierrez his services would no longer be required, suggesting there’s little to be salvaged from his efforts this season.

Undoubtedly there were times when his efforts simply weren’t up to scratch. There were the first-lap collisions with Nico Hulkenberg – yes, two with the same driver. His Rene Arnoux-like use of rear mirrors which infuriated front runners (he had two blue flag penalties in one race alone) and everyone else (he had a grid penalty at Spa for cutting up Pascal Wehrlein.

Probably most damaging was the poor starts he made when he qualified well. He gave Haas their first Q3 appearance at Monza but got away dreadfully. He’d been thousandths of a second off reaching the top ten in Austria too but again fluffed his getaway.

On the latter occasion he recovered to 11th place. This was one of five occasions Gutierrez took the chequered flag as the first non-scorer.

Like his team mate Gutierrez was vexed by the car’s inconsistent braking – a confidence-sapping trait. His patience with its unreliability was exhausted by Brazil, leading to an angry exchange, though his car was no less reliable than Grosjean’s in terms of stoppages.

When both cars saw the chequered flag Gutierrez was ahead of Grosjean more often than not. But his team mate seized the opportunities that counted. The difference between them may be exaggerated by the points tally but it was still significant and may have ended Gutierrez’s F1 career.

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Took a lot of unfair criticism this season for failing to score points while Grosjean had many. He’s not world class, but he had the beating of Grosjean enough to make the Frenchman uncomfortable. His replacement by Magnussen is an upgrade in my opinion and Gutierrez has now had enough chances in Formula One without really delivering much.

What’s your verdict on Esteban Gutierrez’s 2016 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

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View race-by-race notes on Esteban Gutierrez

Australia – Ran out of time to get a second run done during Q1 which meant he missed the cut. He fell behind the Manors at the start and was stretching his first stint on softs when Alonso appeared in his mirrors. He and his rival were cleared of blame for the huge crash which followed.

Bahrain – Only a tenth of a second slower than Grosjean but that meant he started four places further back. Gutierrez made a brilliant start but was again doomed not to finish, this time due to a suspected brake disc problem.

China – Saw the chequered flag for the first time this year and was well ahead of his team mate in 14th despite his Drag Reduction System not working.

Russia – Had similar tyre problems to Grosjean but also made it into Q2, albeit last. At the start he braked too late and took out Hulkenberg and Haryanto, earning a penalty and two points on his licence. He at least saw the chequered flag, albeit a distant 17th.

Spain – Felt he got the most out of his car in qualifying but was pipped by Grosjean again. A gamble on a long final stint on mediums didn’t pay off – his tyres faded which allowed Button and Kvyat to edge him out of the points.

Monaco – Achieved his best starting position of the year so far with 12th but wasn’t able to use that as a springboard to a points finish. The timings of both his pit stops were on the conservative side which put him at a disadvantage, and he was passed on-track by both Williams drivers.

Canada – Did a solid job in qualifying to take 13th on the grid which was where he finished after an uneventful race.

Europe – Still not back to full strength following his recent illness, Gutierrez visited many of Baku’s run-off areas during practice. He didn’t make a great started and made matters worse by running into Hulkenberg, dropping back to 17th. With a damaged floor and wing Gutierrez had to pit for repairs, which left him behind the Renaults at the flag.

Austria – Hampered by various problems during practice, he nonetheless came within six thousandths of a second of reaching Q3. However he undid that good work with a poor start, falling to 18th after his engine went into anti-stall. He recovered to finish just outside the points once again.

Britain – Like his team mate he wasn’t able to get into Q3. A slow first pit stop dropped him to the rear of the field after which he lapped quicker than the Renaults but came home last.

Hungary – Coped better with his car than his team mate but fell foul of the stewards twice due to his failure to respond to blue flags. Like Grosjean he also struggled with his brakes in the closing stages and he was passed by Perez in the closing stages.

Germany – Charles Leclerc drove his car again in the first practice session but Gutierrez showed good form by qualifying ahead of Grosjean in 11th. That was where he finished as well, once more missing out on points after a decent drive including a long opening stint on softs.

Belgium – Drew the ire of his rivals for not looking in his mirrors again after Wehrlein had to dive off the track to avoid him in practice; Gutierrez was duly given a grid penalty. He was quicker on the softs than Grosjean but was being caught at the end when they switched to mediums.

Italy – A fine effort in qualifying saw Gutierrez give Haas their debut appearance in Q3. He made a terrible start, however, falling to the rear of the field. As he had to start on used tyres this hampered his efforts to recover lost ground, though he made it as far as 13th.

Singapore – A standard weekend, in that he finished eleventh and the leaders complained he held them up. To his credit, he out-qualified his unhappy team mate and finished in front of a Williams, but a point was definitely in the offing here.

Japan – Stopped in the middle of the second practice session due to a turbocharger fault. In qualifying he accompanied Grosjean into Q3 but he spoiled his race with a spin while trying to pass Sainz. He finished with just the Manors behind him.

Malaysia – Picked up a puncture on the first lap, struggled on with floor damage, but retired when a wheel fell off his car. In need of a change of luck.

United States – Wasn’t running the new front wing which transformed the performance of the VF-16, but made it into Q2. He slipped behind Grosjean early on and retired shortly after his first pit stop with another brake fault.

Mexico – An error in qualifying meant he dropped out in Q1 at home. He spent the race nursing his brakes but brought the car home ahead of Grosjean.

Brazil – Qualifying was typical of his season: while Grosjean dazzled with his Q3 run, few noticed Gutierrez had only been a tenth off him in Q2. Fine margins are amplified in the midfield. His race was a frustrating affair as an MGU-K fault compromised his power delivery problems under braking and while cornering. Then the MGU-H packed up and a visibly furious Gutierrez vented his frustration at team principal Guenther Steiner. The team had already announced Gutierrez will not be driving for them next year.

Abu Dhabi – Enjoyed a smoother Friday than Grosjean as was fractionally quicker, a performance he replicated in qualifying. However he was passed by his team mate in the race and finished there.

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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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35 comments on “2016 F1 season driver rankings #21: Gutierrez”

  1. He may not be a spectacular racer, but his quali record makes 21St spectacularly unfair.

    1. RossoTorro (@)
      6th December 2016, 15:02

      Quali doesn’t score points now does it, 23rd would have been too high for Gutierrez.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th December 2016, 17:11

        Yep, he’s had 59 starts and has scored 6 points out of 86 during 3 seasons (one season was 0 points for Sauber)…

        He’s only scored in 1 race in his career. He should have retired after the Japanese GP in 2013 when he got 7th:-)

        Been there, done that! Sayonara Amigos (see what I did there?;-)

        That’s how you leave F1 at the top of your game.

        1. You mean to tell me he actually scored points on 1 occasion? I thought his career was pointless (pun intended) up until now. Send him packing, maybe he can get a drive with Caterham! Ha!

        2. That’s not a really representative statistic because a lot about winning and getting points is about the car. That being said I’m not saying you are wrong.

          The devil is in the team mate compairson. In 2013 season at sauber GUT scored 6 points whereas his team mate hilkenberg scored 51. In 2014 gut scored 0, the same as his team mate sutil. 2015 he did not drive and 2016 is basically the same as 2013. He has never been able to beat his team mate in f1 car which really shows how skilled he is.

    2. @hahostolze I agree there’s an anti Guti feeling here. He was unlucky not to score an handful of points, he was surprisingly close to Romain but Esteban is unfortunately spectacularly more unlikeable than the frenchman.

      1. @peartree: Why unlikeable? Admmittedly I don’t know much about him, but he looks quite likeable. He’s definitely not worthy of an F1 seat, but he looks like a really nice chap.

        1. @alonshow @johnmilk A pay driver no doubt, IMO he isn’t f1 material either but, his last Sauber races were not shockingly bad as he wasn’t that far off Hulk, and his Haas season was much better than the results show. In conclusion Guti is not F1 material but perhaps so isn’t Grosjean, because if you count Guti out on results so you should doubt Romain on quality. He’s unlikeable and that’s what cost him his seat but we won’t miss him. 21th though is being mean.

      2. @peartree it is normal that people aren’t really fans of Gutierrez, he didn’t impressed in his first season and a second chance was already pushing it. He was afterwards beaten by Sutil and somehow landed a seat at Haas.

        We usually talk about how tough formula 1 is on young drivers, and the pressure that they have to endure, but in Gutierrez case I think F1 was too lenient on him.

        He shouldn’t be on the grid IMO

  2. He is horrible period.

  3. At least Gutierrez had proofed that Grosjean is not special.

  4. Not that bad over 1 lap, but pretty shocking over a race distance (his 6-80 points comparison with his team mates says it all really). As I said in my personal review, he should now try something like IndyCar, where he could be relatively successful, he’s had enough chances in F1.

    1. @hugh11
      IMO, the points between the 2 drivers this year hardly show anything if you look at what happened. Grosjean simply hasn’t been much better. The Hass team were at their most competitive in the 1st 2 races. Gutierrez had engine problems in the first race, then got knocked out by Alonso. In the 2nd race, he had engine problems again. Grosjean did have 2 pretty strong races but if he’d been the one with the bad luck and Gutierrez didn’t have any problems, I’m almost certain he’d have picked up some points over those 2 races. Grosjean scored well over 60% of him season’s points in those 2 races alone. If it had been the other way round like I said, While Grosjean will have still been ahead, it will have been by nowhere near as much.
      Also, whenever the car was really bad, he seemed to do better than Grosjean. In fact, he beat Grosjean more often that not if you include every race they both finished. He also had at leased 5 11th place finishes and Grosjean was behind him in all of them I think. There were quite a few races when the car was weaker that his performance was far better that Grosjeans. He just unfortunately either had technical issues or couldn’t deliver a good performance when the car was capable.
      To me, either Grosjean is nowhere near as good as people think he is, or Gutierrez is nowhere near as bad. Grosjean has overall been better, but not by much at all.
      I would like him to have at leased one more chance to prove himself.

      1. My last sentence is talking about Gutierrez if I wasn’t clear enough.

      2. @thegianthogweed I would agree with you if this was his 1st season, but it isn’t. It is the 3rd now, how many more chances does he need?

        No disrepect, but he isn’t good enough for F1

        1. @johnmilk
          But as I have explained, it Grosjean really much better. He may be at times but this season he has hardly been any better. Should Grosjean be getting another chance? The fact that Gutierrez beats him more often that not really does show that Grosjean has been pretty bad a lot of this year. Guttierez has certainly had the chance for a point or 2 and this was when he made errors of his own. That is about the only thing that is worse about Gutierres compared to Grosjean in my view over this year. Other than that, they have been pretty evenly matched. With the luck he’s had, it won’t have been possible for him to get anywhere close to what Grosjean got in points. This isn’t Grosjean’s first season either is it and I’m certain his performance has gone downhill this year. But I would like both drivers to keep going. Grosjean has proved that he was capable and I still think there is something special about Guttierez if Ferrari had him as their reserve driver. I would like him to have another chance or at leased do some other roll relating to F1.

          1. @thegianthogweed this is a very difficult scenario to draw comparisons between Grosjean and Gutierrez, the car was very inconsistent, probably nearly impossible to setup and even the times they both finished one or the other was plagued with problems (most notably brakes)

            However we cannot overlook the fact that Gutierrez didn’t score a single point.

            When I said he isn’t good enough to be in F1 I wasn’t comparing him with Grosjean, but if we do that exercise as you said, Grosjean proved what he is worth. I do not conasider him one of the best, but what he has done so far at least makes him deserved of a seat.

            Gutierrez on the other hand is now on his 3rd season, he was destroyed by Hulkenberg, beaten by Sutil (his career should have ended at best here), and outsored by Grosjean

            All this does not mean that he isn’t a very good test driver, and probably is oustanding giving feedback, take as example Luca Badoer. But even to land that test driver seat he had to rely on his sponsors.

            To conclude, 3 seasons, I do not remember a single stand-out performance, has still yet to beat a teammate.

            I assume you are a fan of his, but at the moment things aren’t looking very promising

          2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            8th December 2016, 9:03

            I’m not a fan, but I just don’t think he’s as bad as people think he is. And I think he’s had plenty of good performances this season. They have just been when the car has been really bad. This was when he was getting all his 11th place finishes with Grosjean finishing behind him. I’d say Gutierrez has had more reliability problems than Grosjean but he’s still managed to finish ahead more often than not. But I agree he had missed the chance on at leased 2 or 3 occasions where he could have scored a point or 2. In my view, they both have had to cope with a dreadful car, but Gutierrez has kicked up less of a fuss than Grosjean and actually dealt with it better. Grosjean can do a better job when the car is good, but when the car is poor, it is a fact that he’s been better most of the time as he’s beaten Grosjean more often than not when they’ve both finished. While I agree he is one of the worse drivers on the grid, I still would like him to have another chance. It isn’t just me that think he’s pretty much been level with Grosjean this year and if Grosjean gets to continue, I think he should also, but just in another team now.

  5. He’s terrible at actually racing, you know, the bit where you get points.

    1. @jmc200

      Well beating your ‘highly-rated’ teammate who has scored 10 podiums 7-5 in races they have finished in is hardly terrible….. If Gutierrrez is 21st and Grosjean has to be no higher than 17th.

      1. I think a fairer appraisal is that he’s terrible at taking the big chances when they’re there, like Monaco 2014, Monza, Suzuka this year.

  6. I rated Kvyat higher than Guiterez

    1. Indeed Guiterez is never been capable to give his team mate any pressure. When he could (should) score points he failed. As everyone know sunday is the day you score points (and become champion) and Saterday is just for fame.
      Should be 23 (ok 22 Rio was worse)

  7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th December 2016, 15:45

    Was Gutierrez unlucky to not get a single point? Or was it at least some form of vindication for Grosjean?

    I think you can support both arguments.

    Just when Grosjean looked so good over the past few years, Gutierrez started doing better and made us question him.

    Obviously Grosjean has no confidence in the car’s brakes which make it impossible for him to race without worrying if his life insurance is high enough to support his family.

    If only Gutierrez could have continued at the same level that he’s had all along… He picked a really bad time to improve and probably it won’t make any difference in terms of his getting a ride. But it might (if it hasn’t already) screwed up Grosjean’s chances of getting a top car.

  8. I’m still convinced he is not good enough. Fast on one lap. Occasionally flattered by a decent car and a more aggressive start to GPS which put him momentarily in front of his team mate before one of the two cars broke down or that he ends up gliding backwards because of tyre management.. I still believe Grosjean scores whenever he can trust his car. Gutierrez is fast (we know that from gp3) but not yet capable of reaching the end of a gp when it matters. And you have to ask, how comes he gets 0 points when Sauber and Manor managed to do i.

  9. Gutierrez is amongst the top three Mexican drivers presently in Formula One.

      1. Well, says all really

    1. …but there’re only two Mexicans in F1…you mean Celis as the third?

  10. No matter how many chances his Telmex pesos buys him, he just isn’t quite good enough for this level. He is using too much of his mental capacity to drive the car, which is fine on a single qualifying lap, but isn’t great for dynamic race scenarios which makes him vulnerable when being lapped and on the first lap. The fact that his junior career plateaued spectacularly when he moved into the power sensitive GP2 category, makes me think he has had fundamental issues with throttle management.

    Right now he can either continue to chase an impossible dream and cling to F1 with a Manor drive, or he can have a great career, win some races and not be overstretching his abilities with a career in sportscars/DTM.

  11. He was number 1…at holding up the oack leaders. Ham and Vet love this guy.

  12. Hm, it really shows how hard it is to rate the driver. I still would put Kvyat ahead, he DID get that podium in China afterall. And in the last couple of races he has regained his race craft and finished.

    That said, Guttierez did not do too bad, he finished ahead of Grosjean quite a few times, outqualified him a few times too. But it really does seem like he just can’t get the results home. After 3 seasons his balance against all teammates is negative. So I guess it is a driver that looked really promising, can be fast, can do solid races. But not going anywhere.

    1. To see him fail to score a single point with a quite capable car, reminds me of Monaco 2014, when he was on position to score just like Nasr was in Brazil. And he hit the inside wall on Rascasse and lost the chance. Sauber ended the year with 0 points.

      3 seasons, more than 60 races and a single top 10.

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