Gutierrez relaxed ahead of F1 debut

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Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez feels relaxed ahead of his Formula One debut at the Australian Grand Prix in just over one week’s time.

“Competing in a Formula One race is the next step in my career, and that’s what I need to focus on. One of the things that I need to do is feel natural and relaxed in my surroundings so I can focus on the most important elements during the weekend.

“I feel I have a good base for the start of the season, but, of course, I will keep on working as I have areas where I can improve. My goal is to exploit the car’s potential and finish consistently within the points.”

Gutierrez’s debut will come after a strong showing in GP2 last season, and following the departure of compatriot Sergio Perez to McLaren, the Mexican driver was given the opportunity to claim a full-time race seat in 2013. Despite a poor showing in his Friday practice run-out in India last season, Gutierrez  told the official Formula One website that he feels ready for the race in Australia.

“Melbourne will be my first race in F1 and I’m sure it will be very special. It’s a track that I don’t know, but I’m confident I will be able to learn it quickly in the free practice sessions.

Although Sauber were rarely on the pace in testing, head of track engineering Tom McCullough was happy with the team’s progress.

“Nico [Hulkenberg] and Esteban have quickly settled into their new working environment and have already established strong working relationships within the team, which is very important. You never know exactly where you sit compared to the other teams during winter testing, but importantly the C32 has performed as expected which is encouraging.”

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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