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.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.