Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, Yas Marina, 2016

Lack of points cost Gutierrez his seat – Steiner

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In the round-up: Esteban Gutierrez’s failure to score any points this year was the main reason he lost his seat at Haas, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.

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The official 2016 F1 season review is out and again it’s not up to scratch.

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  • 56 comments on “Lack of points cost Gutierrez his seat – Steiner”

    1. No duh Estebabs lack of points is the reason he got axed. What other reason could there be.

      1. @jamiejay995 I can think of plenty more to add. 2 mediocre years at Sauber, nothing really to show against Grosjean, not a single moment of “yeah, this guy can drive!”. Just plain average.

        1. Surgically dispatched @fer-no65

        2. In three full seasons of F1 he has scored a total of six points which came as a result of a 7th place in Japan 2013. In the same car that year Hulkenburg scored 51 (yes 51!) points. Why he thinks he should still be in F1 I’ll never know!

      2. I love it when teams come up with these reasons for letting a driver go.
        Hass scored the bulk of their points in the early part of the season with one car, because they essentially had only one car ready. All the problems were on Esteban’s car. By the time they had sorted his car out, other teams had closed up on Haas and points were no longer easy to get.
        Its true, he scored no points, but he wasn’t given much of a opportunity.

        1. But Grosjean also scored in Austria and Texas. What was his excuse then?

          1. @optimaximal

            Gutierrez retired with a brake failiure in Austin and Grosjean was extremely lucky with the SC timing in Austria

        2. Come on, he had plenty of chances, its about taking them. I don’t doubt had he scored early on it would of bolstered his confidence but alas he didnt.

        3. A single points scoring finish in 59 appearances. He has had 59 equal chances to score as does everybody else on the grid, and in those appearances his various teamates have scored on 15 occasions.

      3. In theory, quite a few reasons.
        In practice, no further reasons would be necessary or expected.

        Nice try, Esteban, unfortunately Haas is a step too high.

    2. Interesting comment about DRS from Fittipaldi, and for those who pay attention to the racing, they will realise that he is right. Cars with similar pace and tyre performance still find it difficult at times to pass, especially if the driver in front knows how to defend well using the cars energy deployment etc (Verstappen even found a way with poorer tyres at times). The real easy passes we see are due to a large car performance difference, generally due to tyre wear.
      But what is really worrying, is the fact that DRS has to be used, and they won’t think of ways to work the aero regs to make the racing much closer. Of course, they can’t get rid of wings, but surely some type of balance between wings and ground effect can be used to make the racing the way us fans want it?
      Can’t expect MotoGP levels of close amazing racing, but something closer to the way F1 was when aero didn’t destroy it.

      1. I’m not an aerodynamicist, so I don’t know if this would work / is correct or not, but here goes.

        Could they change the front wing to have multiple long aerodynamic pieces running the whole way along the wing? If you look at the F1 cars in the 2000s, the front wing (ignoring the width) had several long aerodynamic pieces creating downforce along the the whole wing – like a wing on top of a wing. Looking at the 2016 Mercedes I notice the front wing is literally just a stick with the bits on the ends in front of where the wheels are.

        Surely using the entire front wing to generate downforce again would reduce the impact of turbulent air, as it would be able to pick up as much of the available downforce as possible, allowing the car to follow closer in the corners. Or would that serve to give further advantage to the car in front?

        Maybe another solution is scrapping DRS and replacing it with active aerodynamics, on either the front or rear wing, or both. Rather than having a rule to do with timing, cars could have sensors to detect whether or not they are in dirty air and a loss of downforce (does such a technology exist), and compensate for it with more downforce.

        Another thing I’ve noticed is vorteces coming off the rear wings, which must play a significant cause in disruption. In aviation they have developed methods to reduce this disturbance from aeroplane wings. Has F1 tried any such thing?

        1. Surely using the entire front wing to generate downforce again would reduce the impact of turbulent air

          @strontium it could well increase the impact of turbulent air. I’m no aerodynamics either, maybe @andae23 can help us here. But thinking about it: you set up the car, with that multiple element front wing you introduced, and you go qualy. You enjoy a certain amount of downforce and the car is working as a whole with that percentage up front.

          Now you are racing, and you’re behind someone else. The turbulent air now affects your whole wing, and the more downforce you have, the bigger the difference between downforce with and without turbulent air, because the bigger the wing, the more sensitive it is to upcoming air.

          About the vortices, we don’t see them as much because of the slotted rear wing endplates and other gimmicks. They create a lot of drag on their own, so teams presumably work hard to eliminate them, regardless of the effect they have on the following cars.

          1. The biggest concern about ground effects is a car flipping, isn’t it? I guess if they are going to end up with a closed canopy, they could look into getting most of the downforce this way…

            1. @ivz The biggest concern with ground effect I believe is the shear cornering speeds achievable combined with the measures teams were going to in the 80’s to beat their rivals. Fixed springs, the entire car planted on the floor, floating skirts etc.

              Basically another technology arms race and even the strongest drivers were being beaten to a pulp by the stiff, brutal cars cornering at several G.

              I actually believe the cars flipping was less of a problem because the tunnels on the floor meant they were broken up – the flat floors we now have in most racing series are much more sensitive to flipping if air gets trapped under them (Webber’s ’10 Valencia crash, a lot of recent WEC crashes where the car was airborne).

            2. But they pull more G’s back then than – say – in the mid-2000s ?

              And when was this peak of cornering speeds? Laptimes have improved since.

              Where the ground effect-cars of the eighty’s that fast? Or just brutal because of the turbo-lag and fixed springs in combination with less fit drivers than we have nowadays?

            3. Ground effect is not an on/off thing. You can have little bit of it like now. You can have little bit more of it or you can have a lot of it. You can also design your car to get majority of its overall downforce from the ground effect. Ground effect just means the car is developing downforce using the floor of the car. But even the front wing produces ground effect if it is close enough to the ground.

              However this ground effect is sensitive to ride height. We are talking of millimeters here. The closer to the ground the better is easy way to simplify it. This creates a problem when tires become taller when they heat up (although nitrogen inflated tires help reduce this). And when tires get cold behind a safety car the tire diameter gets smaller. Similarly adding more fuel makes the car heavier and suspension compresses more. And the faster you go the more downforce you have pushing the car to the ground. Which makes the ground clearence become smaller when the springs compress under the downforce which in turn increases ground effect downforce.

              Reducing ride height will eventually cause the car bottoming out. Bottoming out makes you lose ground effect downforce. Controlling ground clearence is difficult in a car which relies a lot on ground effects to generate downforce. And because the car is not moving up and down in perfect manner you get all kinds of weird effects like porpoising when one corner of the car is really close to the ground for example while the other side is high. Porpoising for example means that the car will struggle to drive straight because the aerodynamic downforce is changing uncontrollibly. But porpoising like all the other issues can be minimized and fixed with good design. But overall the main difference is that if you have a lot of ground effects you want a stiffly sprung car (hard springs) to minimize the suspension movement so your ground clearence can stay low.

              Cars flipping is not about ground effects but about the overall shape of the car. Here is a nice text about it: http://www.mulsannescorner.com/techarticle3.html

            4. Michael Brown (@)
              13th December 2016, 16:27

              @socksolid Thanks for the informative post. Is active suspension a solution to keeping the ride height consistent to optimize ground effects?

            5. @mbr-9
              Active suspension does fix all those issues. But active suspension in itself is not and on/off switch. It is a can of worms on its own too. First of all it adds weight and increases the costs a lot. It is road relevant technology as most sportscars sold today have some kind of active suspension system (electrical dampers in corvettes, electrically or hydraulically adjustable dampers, rollbars and springs etc..). But in F1 I think if given too much freedom it will boil down to who has the most money to throw at it.

              As far as active suspension goes you can do more than just maximise your downforce with it. You can reduce your drag on straightaways, maximise drag in braking zones, adjust front/rear balance of the car during various parts of the corner. (and then design the car in such way that it takes the full benefit of this). Technically you could even counter the effects of turbulence when following other car. You’d still lose downforce because you are not in clean air but you could control the car so that you don’t get big under- or oversteer. Technically you could use the system to steer as well (steer each tire separately).

              You could manage tire wear by adjusting various aspects of the suspension and you could also control all of the suspension geometry if you go extreme with it. Adjusting camber (tire angles) allows you to keep the tire at its peak grip orientation all the time for example. Back when williams and mclaren (and others) had their active suspensions in f1 they only controlled ride height with the system. In modern day f1 I think teams would do more with it.

              As far driving such car goes I don’t think it makes things easier necessarily for the driver. The suspension would be extremely rigid. At high speeds it would be really physical to drive because the system is not fast enough to cancel out the bumps at high speeds. So the car moves a lot. At low speeds you don’t get any body movement of the car other than what the system allows or produces. But you could attack kerbs really hard. So I don’t think it would make things easier for the driver.

          2. @fer-no65 @strontium the whole of the front wing already does generate downforce, even the prescribed “neutral” section in the centre of the wing. The numerous winglets, bargeboards and fiddly bits also generate downforce at the front of the car, but they are also important for guiding the flow of air around the car beyond the front wing:

            http://www.totalsimulation.co.uk/wp/secrets-formula-1-front-wing/

            F1 aerodynamics actually purposefully generate vortices at various points, they are a neat if complex way of making fast flowing air do what you want. It’s fairly common to see them in humid air coming of the rear wing, although these aren’t functionally useful for car itself (but they are a symptom of the dirty turbulent air that a following car would have to deal with, as you point out), but the front wing will also generate them along with the little vortex generators commonly seen on the sidepods.

            In any turbulent air, a downforce generating front wing (or spoiler, or any other aero device) will be disturbed. The key is the ratio of downforce produced by the front wing – the higher this ratio is, the more compromised it can be. If a car only produces 5-10% of its downforce with a front wing, then it will only experience a small reduction in performance when travelling in turbulent air. An F1 car is probably generating at least 30%, maybe up to 50%, of its downforce with the front wing so there’s an awful lot to lose.

            In 2009, I honestly think F1 aero regulations went down the wrong road. They ignored trying to minimise front wing dependence, and took the approach of trying to reduce the amount of dirty air that was being generated by the car as a whole. Hence the high, narrow rear wings. They actually increased the dependence on the front wing by allowing them to be wider, and no less complex – but it’s an experiment that hasn’t worked. It’s disappointing that the 2017 regulations are not seeing a return to simpler (and smaller) front wings, I can only presume aerodynamicists and carbon fibre manufacturers are powerful lobbyists!

            1. So the increase in mechanical grip from the wider tyres should be a step in the right direction, right? I mean, it should lead to a relative lower % of grip genrated by downforce.

              On the other hand, the changes in the size and hight of the rear wing and the increase in barge-boards etc. should have the opposite effect.

              Question: if they instead go for more ground effect (ie more effecient bottom/diffuser) instead of more drag-based downforce, will that still be influenced by a car driving closely ahead? I think it would, but I’m no engineer.

            2. I can only presume aerodynamicists and carbon fibre manufacturers are powerful lobbyists!

              *cough* Red Bull *cough*

            3. Question: if they instead go for more ground effect (ie more effecient bottom/diffuser) instead of more drag-based downforce, will that still be influenced by a car driving closely ahead? I think it would, but I’m no engineer.

              Yes it would, but not nearly as much.

              Wings rely on nice, regular airflow to produce downforce (or lift, for an aeroplane), the downforce they can produce is in fact proportional to air density. So lessened or irregular air density, both of which will be encountered behind another car, will reduce that downforce.

              Ground effect (in cars) is generated by forcing air underneath the car in a way that increases its velocity, in turn reducing its pressure compared to air surrounding the car, effectively sucking the car into the ground. It still relies having airflow being available for this, but I don’t think it’s as sensitive and certainly the turbulence that effects wings so badly is generally higher than the few inches above the ground that would be utilised by ground effect devices.

              Increasing the amount of performance generated by ground effect would mean the overall performance of a car would not be as affected as much by following another, certainly. Others have pointed out the problems though with ground effect, it is very sensitive to ride height changes and unregulated it could in theory lead to unsafe cornering speeds (although so could regular aerodynamics, if they were deregulated!).

        2. 1) the central part of the wing is a neutral section defined by regulation. All teams run the same length and profile in this area.

          2) the central part of the FW not pick up much DF in traffic because most of the turbulence is centerline from the car in front.

          3) creating a high DF producing central section will have major impacts in the floor and turning vanes. Usually designers want the airstream coming into this central section to remain clean and high speed. This allows them to direct it at the floor and and side pods more smoothly. If this area of the wing was producing DF the air directly behind it would be a mess, turbulent, and almost unusable for the rest of the length of the car. Designers loved the high nose cars of the Red Bull era for this reason.

          4). Not a chance a race car designer does Anything to create cleaner air behind them. In fact most F1 cars still have little bits here and there towards the rear specifically designed to add turbulence.

          1. Not a chance a race car designer does Anything to create cleaner air behind them. In fact most F1 cars still have little bits here and there towards the rear specifically designed to add turbulence.

            While I’m unsure if they specifically design them to add turbulence, I believe that they way to solve problems with following other cars would be to put it in the hands of the engineers.

            F1 engineers and designers are incredibly smart people. If they wanted to, they could make cars which caused less turbulence and were less affected by the turbulence. However, they are also designing the cars to win. In the current rules, the fastest and most competitive designs produce a ton of dirty air and are severely affected by it.

            One idea I have often felt would help (and have mentioned here before) involves a change in qualifying format to ensure the fastest cars must overtake. A sprint race with a reverse championship order grid would do so. The fastest cars/drivers start at the back, which means they must be able to overtake a lot of cars to get a good race grid position. This would force their designers to concentrate on overtaking. As the fastest teams generally have the best engineers, they should produce the best designs, and they will also lobby for regulations which allow them to produce better overtaking designs.

            It may not work, but it’s got a good chance, IMHO. It has other benefits, too: More racing for fans to watch and more mixed up grids for a start. But the main reason I like the idea is that it’s manipulating the teams into doing something good for the sport.

        3. Using the whole front wing would be determeantal because the wake form the car in front mostly affects the middle of the car, therefore there would be a greater difference in the down force making racing even harder. Which is the reason why the neutral section in the middle was introduced.

        4. @strontium, the design of front wing used in the early 2000’s might have better performance in clean air, but the performance loss in turbulent air tended to be higher than the current generation of wings.

          When they ran wind tunnel tests and CFD models, they found that there was a tendency for the central part of the wing to stall in those conditions. The neutral profile section that was introduced in the middle of the wing was intended to reduce the overall impact of downforce loss due to the turbulent wake of the car in front, since the most heavily effected part of the wing, the central section, made a relatively insignificant contribution to the performance of the front wing.

          With regards to the vortices, that is not a new problem – they’ve been a problem since the 1980’s, and in fact most of the teams are trying to reduce the size of the vortices given that they tend to increase drag. Most teams already try various slots or small aero elements on the endplates in order to try to disrupt those vortices.

          As for the idea of increasing the downforce when behind another car, they have already tried that in 2009 – they introduced a driver adjustable front wing that year, and the idea was that the trailing driver could adjust the wing angle whilst behind another car to increase the amount of downforce produced by the car.

          However, in practise the idea didn’t really work – most of the time, the drivers tended to abuse the system to adjust the balance of the car as fuel burned off, and then found that they either hit the limits of how far the wing could be adjusted behind another driver, or the trailing driver found that the resultant shift in balance meant that he struggled to keep up with the leading driver.

        5. I actually think the solution is to go the other way – towards simplicity. As we have been told so many times, one of the main purposes of the front wing is to set up the airflow for the rest of the car, and this airflow is being mightily optimized. If teams were only allowed to use a single plate front wing without compound curvature and with simple endplates, like they used to have back in the 70’s/80’s, the flow over the car would be sub-optimal right from the start, and they would have to learn to live with it. Getting in a splistream would not mean such a big drop in performance as now.
          And the cars would look _way_ better, I still did not get used to those snowploughs.

          1. I’m hoping we see come true something JV opined on 20 years ago when they introduced the grooved tires and he got hauled up on the FIA carpet for calling them a joke. He said at the time, paraphrasing…’Give us back the big fat slicks they had in the 70’s. They created so much drag on the straights that you had to run less wing in order to achieve respectable top speeds and not be a sitting duck, while in turn you had mechanical grip from the tires, thus killing two birds with one stone. Smaller wings less negatively affected in dirty air, plus mechanical grip from the tires.’

            So I’m hoping that no matter the new wing format for 2017, the teams will have to be mindful of how much downforce they want to use with respect to top speeds, and that the ground effects and tires grab the bigger portion of the grip with aero coming in third in importance.

            Surely (not holding my breath but hopeful) they have learned by now that dirty air is the enemy that even DRS and gadget tires hasn’t solved, and that aero needs to take a little less emphasis. I am under no illusion that they are ready to eliminate their addiction to aero downforce, nor do I expect that, but they should know by now after numerous formats that it is always the limiting factor to close racing, so they need mechanical grip and ground effects to take over and force the teams through regs to emphasize aero downforce less.

    3. Bottas will be a shoe-in for the Mercedes seat. Williams are playing hard ball but a deal will be done for sure. Personally would love to see Sainz get the drive though

      1. They are just driving Vettels price down. Bottas isn’t going anywhere and since Lewis will be on the way out himself they need a new long term star.

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        13th December 2016, 4:06

        +1
        Sainz would be my #1 choice. The boy can flatout drive. He’s quicker than Bottas IMO, but perhaps Bottas is a better overall choice for Mercedes since he’ll likely fit in to the team with minimal complications.

        1. James Pedregal
          13th December 2016, 7:01

          I fail to see what Sainz have acheived, can you enlight me?, I think the highest position for him was a 6th place this year, meanwhile verstappen destroyed him and was 4th last year in Hungary and USA and 7 podiums so far, i think all the fuss for Sainz is Alonso related

          1. VES was in a RedBull car after the first 4 races and Sainz was not….. so those 7 podiums to 0 for Sainz isn’t really a fair comparison.

            In 2015 Verstappen had 49 points, Sainz had 18 pts. Both lost a lot of points due to reliability issues (mainly a failing Renault in some way or another). Verstappen had more problems in qualifying and early on in the races (like the china blow up on the last lap while running well inside the top 10) but Sainz had more race ending faillures towards the second part of the year.

            Sainz was quicker than Verstappen in qualifying in the first half of the season, Verstappen improved in that respect after the summer (as part of a very strong run in general from Hungary onwards, with only Abu Dhabi as a non-points finish).

            In 2016, after 4 races VES had 13 points, SAI had 4 points and VES lead the qualifying battle 3-1 as well. All in all it seams fair to say that Sainz had the upper hand in the first part of 2015 and that Verstappen looked to be on a steap learning curve, overtaking the Spaniard from the midpoint of the season onwards. One could also say that Verstappen had more eye-popping drives than Sainz due to his overtakes. Overall I’d say Verstappen was the better driver in their time together (23 races), although I think it’s impossible to come up with a definite comparison due to the many faillures Sainz had later on in 2015.

            Although VES definitely has the edge due to his wetweather skills and bold overtaking/defending style, Sainz is very quick and consistant and no slouch at overtaking himself. The fact that Verstappen went on to do so well in the RedBull, should indicate that Sainz would be fine in a front running car and I would love to see him in a RBR/Merc/Ferrari for sure. However, RBR knows the guy is good and isn’t willing to let him go to the competition as long as he’s under contract. That’s unfortunate but understandible and with VES and RIC in the main team, there’s just no other option for SAI than Torro Rosso.

          2. ColdFly F1 (@)
            13th December 2016, 9:04

            Just look at all his results over the past 2 years and even the biggest sceptic will see it.

            1. @coldfly See what? Are you talking about VES, SAI or BOT?

            2. what @ James Pedregal doesn’t see! (“I fail to see what Sainz have acheived”)
              @jeffreyj

      3. I wonder if Toto has a seat on both sides of the table – perhaps he just alternates between a Homburg and a Bowler.

        1. Last I heard he still owned 5% of Williams, so seems like a triple-conflict of interest to me.

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            13th December 2016, 9:17

            He sold the 5% Williams share earlier this year.

            1. If the price for Bottas & Sainz is similar then I would take Bottas. I think Toto and the lads would love to steal one from the Red Bull camp but if they take Bottas he seens as a replacement as team leader for Hamilton if he leaves in a year or two (or 10, mixed messages, maybe the rap album not selling well??) :)

              If they take Sainz as a young driver he essentially eliminates either Ocon or Wehrlein in the foreseeable future making their young driver program not look too good.

    4. I really hope someone more interesting than Bottas gets the seat… but I can see how he fits the bill :-(

      1. He seems like the new age Barrichello to me. Consistent, fast on his day but obedient to whatever the team asks of him.

      2. Use a “seatfiller” for a year, maybe a young driver or any other talent.
        Watch KEVIN MAGNUSSEN beat the crap out of Grosjean in 2017 and give him the seat in 2018.
        Bulletproof plan if Mercedes wants another World Champion.

    5. Miguel Cuathemoc
      13th December 2016, 6:12

      I hate to say anything bad about my fellow countryman but I knew Gutierrez was going to dissapointment, when he first signed with Haas they said they only picked him so they could attract attention from American/Mexican fans. He failed to impress all season despite being with a good team, I personally feel Haas should have picked up another driver instead of him. He didn’t deserve the drive with Haas.

    6. I like that 8 bit season thing. Why didn’t they open the season review DVD with that, to make it a bit of fun!

      1. I thought it was cool,too. Still smiling about it.

    7. That 8 bit season review is hilarious!

      Bonus Level: Help Daniel Ricciardo find his tyres!!

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        13th December 2016, 8:25

        Speak to Kimi…. ‘Bwoah’ actually made me lol

    8. I think Sainz is becoming an increasingly realistic candidate for the Mercedes seat. Yes Bottas is still probably more achievable, and despite the first offer being rejected, another is being drafted, however Sainz would be a choice that Mercedes could actually consider for the long-term (rather than the likely stop-gap they would have signing Wehrlein or Bottas). Also Mercedes will be massively compromising a faithful customer by depriving them of their lead driver, the driver tasked with getting Lance Stroll up to speed, not something Wehrlein is going to be much use for.

      Of course Carlos will be desperate to be in the seat, and if Red Bull exercise their right to hold him to his contract, there are going to have one incredibly resentful driver to manage. Especially given Mercedes’ probable enthusiasm to field him; he is by far the most enticing candidate of the remotely realistic options. Whilst Red Bull will argue that because they have invested in his career they want to reap the rewards of his talents, but they have already denied him top-level promotion once this year, and they have an ideal candidate in Gasly to fill his shoes. Sometimes, Mr Marko, you just have to do things for the good of the sport…or not, in your case…

    9. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      13th December 2016, 8:32

      Is it that time of year where Perez has his “Nobody loves me rant?” And then says he’s better than Force India (Ready for a top team). At the end of the day your results do the talking, not your mouth. He’s done well because of tyre management but certainly isn’t top team material looking at the talent on the grid at present (maybe a solid Ferrari number 2). It always just comes across a little disrespectful to his employer, that let’s face it, saved his career.

    10. Gutierrez could have scored points later, his string of 11th places say that more than any other thing.
      His awful starts undermined his chances.
      He is not a scorer. Even Maldonado could score a point with that car and he couldn’t.

    11. On the Mercedes-Williams-Bottas imbroglio: it may be that Merc offer Williams completely free engines for 2017 in return for Bottas. The question then is: who takes Bottas’s seat at Williams? It must be someone with experience and form. Who is available? Might Jenson Button be persuaded to step back in? Could Niko Hulkenberg be levered out of Force India to rejoin his old team? There aren’t many options…

      1. Absolutely agree with trying to get JB to do an extra year if Bottas does leave – they will definitely need an experienced guy to consolidate under the new regs – Stroll at this point in time simply cannot do that – JB could yet be tempted at the prospect , new regs + Paddy Lowe going to Williams, + Merc power units + a decent salary hike ( money from the Bottas deal ??) however I think you’ll find Hulkenburg already signed and committed to Renault for 2017.

    12. If Bottas gets the Mercedes seat next year, it would be a a tough battle to retain the constructors trophy unless the chassis itself is top notch. Red Bull if left with an unchanged lineup will make the inter team battle more interesting.

    13. Loooove the 8 bit season recap Keith!!

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