F1 2014 Driver Review: Esteban Gutierrez

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Esteban Gutierrez

Team: Sauber F1 Team
Car No.: 19
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 0
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 20th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Esteban Gutierrez frustrates me immensely. He is a very talented driver that enjoyed a successful junior career, but he simply hasn’t been in the right place at the right time in F1. When the Sauber was okay last year, as a rookie, he was still adjusting to F1. Then, when he finally can step up as team leader, the team produces a car that is, well, not okay, shall we say.

Gutierrez is not blameless in all of this. The team’s best chance for points came at Monaco, where he was running as high as P7 before making a silly mistake and spinning out of the race. The Mexican clearly was frustrated by this, but did not dwell on the matter, instead choosing to focus on the rest of the year… although that didn’t exactly go to plan.

With Sauber’s drivers suffering more retirements than anyone else this year, it is hard to fairly review them. That said, Esteban did miss the opportunities that came his way this year.

Gutierrez does deserve another shot at F1, and the decision to take up a reserve role in 2015 – most probably with Lotus – is a mature one to take. He’ll be hanging around the F1 paddock again next year, but whether he’ll be racing again remains to be seen.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

A delightful driver who was probably born in the wrong era, Esteban Gutierrez is unlikely to feature on the F1 grid in 2015, but could well have a reserve role. That may serve the Mexican well longer term because his second year at Sauber failed to improve at all upon his first, and it really wasn’t his fault.

His season mirrored new teammate Adrian Sutil’s in several ways. He struggled with the car’s balance, had an overload of retirements (six to Sutil’s seven), failed to score a point and found himself out of a job at year’s end. The only difference was, he seemed the only Sauber driver for either this year or next standing without a contract in hand when the music stopped!

Malaysia (12th) and Brazil (11th) were his standout qualifying efforts and his biggest race highlight this year wasn’t a regular result per se – it was when Pastor Maldonado pitched him into a barrel roll at Bahrain. Otherwise Gutierrez rarely figured in the equation and on days when any sort of result was possible (Australia, Canada, Hungary), the result didn’t come.