F1 Driver Review: Esteban Gutierrez

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After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

Beginning his F1 career with a 16th-place finish in the championship was Esteban Gutierrez…

ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ

No. 12 Sauber-Ferrari
2013 Stats: 16th Place, 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10s, 2 Laps Led
Average Start: 16.3
Average Finish: 14.1
DNFs: 3

DiZinno says: Gutierrez had flashes of potential stardom during his first season in the sport. He’s still very young, only 21 when the year began, and matched against Nico Hulkenberg at Sauber was facing a challenging measuring stick. He was frequently made to look worse than he was in comparison to the lanky German. Too many Q1 dropouts limited his points-scoring potential, although there were races when points were possible save for a bit of luck. A solitary seventh at Suzuka is nothing to hang his hat on, though. He did just enough to merit another chance.

Estrada says: After earning the chance to drive in Formula One, Gutierrez was promptly put in a hole when he was given a car that wouldn’t get on pace until mid-season. Having to battle Sauber teammate Nico Hulkenberg, the Mexican driver was unable to give him a real challenge. It wasn’t all bad – Singapore saw him crack Q3 for the first time (the only time he dusted Hulkenberg in qualifying all year), and after finishing 12th there, he improved upon that result two weeks later with a seventh-place finish in Japan. But if he is able to come back for a second year of F1 racing, he’ll have to make substantial improvements.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”