Esteban Gutierrez hails ‘step forward’ at Sauber

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Esteban Gutierrez has praised his team following a strong run to 11th at the Spanish Grand Prix today.

The Mexican driver had come under fire following a quiet start to the season, but he managed to look after his tires and ge the best out of his car to lead after the leaders had stopped for the first time.

“I focused on getting the most out of the car today, and it was important to achieve a result like this for me and the team,” Gutierrez said in a team statement. “The team has given me the patience and tools to improve as a driver and this is what I could extract from the car.”

Like many, Gutierrez pointed towards the Pirelli tires as being crucial to securing a good result, although he admitted that he surpassed his own expectations on the aggressive compounds.

“It was a tough race and tire management was critical. At the beginning of the race I was quite surprised about how much I could get out of the tyres. The last two stints were a bit more difficult, but this is a step forward.”

Gutierrez made his fourth stop late on, and despite trailing 10th placed Daniel Ricciardo by over 10 seconds after exiting the pits, he managed to close on the final lap. Unfortunately for Sauber, Ricciardo held on to beat Gutierrez to the line by 0.3 seconds.

He may not have scored, but Esteban Gutierrez certainly appears to be finding his feet in Formula One. Today’s result shows that he is capable of performing, and with names such as Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado behind him, Gutierrez has every reason to be proud of his result.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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