Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has said that Esteban Gutierrez needs to focus on improving his performances after a disappointing start to the season.
The Mexican driver has failed to score in 2013, with a best result of P12 in Malaysia, but Kaltenborn has acknowledged that the C32 car has made life difficult for Gutierrez.
“A lot has to do with the performance of the car,” Kaltenborn explained to Autosport. “You have to be careful not to start making assessments after four races, but yes, we have to keep a very close eye on him and see if the expectations are satisfied or not.
“We have no doubts about his mental capabilities to get on top of things and understand them.”
However, Kaltenborn, who became the first female team principal in the sport last season, has urged Gutierrez to up his game and match the form of teammate Nico Hulkenberg.
“He is struggling at the moment with his performance. So we need to try to focus on get that potential out because we know it’s there.
“The consistency is not there now. Of course we can say that when you hire a rookie driver you can’t expect that at this stage. I think after four races it’s far too early to make that kind of assessment.”
Gutierrez endured a disastrous race in Bahrain, finishing behind the Caterham of Charles Pic in 18th place. However, if he can become the first rookie in 2013 to score points, it could go a long way to silencing any critics.
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”