After banking just six points over a two-year stretch for Sauber, Mexican pilot Esteban Gutierrez has landed at Ferrari as reserve driver to ex-World Champions Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
Gutierrez was looking at perhaps the end of his days in F1 following Sauber’s decision to replace both him and Adrian Sutil with Felipe Nasr and ex-Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson.
But instead, Gutierrez has found a big opportunity and has become the latest addition to the Scuderia’s ongoing rebuilding process.
“It is an honor to become part of the Scuderia Ferrari family, a team with such an exceptional history,” Gutierrez said in a statement. “It is for me the beginning of a new path for my future and I’m going to do my utmost to contribute to the achievement of the targets set by the Scuderia.
“I want to thank everybody for their belief in my potential; this will bring a great opportunity for me to develop further and get to the top in the near future. With all my passion and dedication, I’m now looking forward to the start of this new venture.”
Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene feels that Gutierrez can bring a lot to the table after competing over the last two seasons.
“…We are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to Esteban who, although young, has plenty of experience relating to the new generation of Formula 1 cars,” Arrivabene said.
“I am sure that, with his experience, he will make an important contribution to the development work of the team in the simulator. Welcoming Esteban also means opening the gates of Ferrari to a driver from Mexico, a country where the Scuderia still has a lot of fans, just as was the case fifty years ago in the days of the Rodriguez brothers.”
Gutierrez moved up to F1 in 2013 with Sauber but could only earn one points-paying finish, a seventh at the Japanese Grand Prix, in his rookie year.
His sophomore season in 2014 was even tougher as Sauber’s Ferrari-powered C33 was simply too uncompetitive against its rivals. Neither Gutierrez or Sutil were able to wring a single point out of the car, and Gutierrez himself suffered six DNFs.