Esteban Gutierrez may have spent the majority of 2015 outside of a racing car as Ferrari’s reserve driver, but the Mexican driver learned plenty while working under world champions Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen ahead of his full-time return to Formula 1 in 2016.
Gutierrez walked away from Sauber at the end of 2014 following two full seasons in F1 that yielded just six points following a solitary seventh-place finish at the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix.
The Mexican driver spent the next year with Ferrari in a reserve role, but will return to the grid in 2016 after joining the new Haas F1 Team for its debut season.
Speaking to reporters during his first visit to Haas’ main base in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Gutierrez spoke about his time with Ferrari and said that he learned plenty while working with Vettel and Raikkonen.
When asked how much he spoke with Vettel and Raikkonen, Gutierrez said: “A lot.
“I don’t think that any driver will give you direct advice, because obviously at some point, you become a competitor.
“But it’s true, first to be in the position of a third driver with Ferrari with two world champions like Sebastian and Kimi, and also for them to open the doors for me to have the access to the information, and to have conversations together about the car – the feelings, their opinion – it has given me a lot of perspective. A lot of lessons.
“Because obviously, I was there sitting and had time to observe, to look and to take all the positives from each of them and use that for my experience.”
Despite not being a core part of the Ferrari setup in 2016, Gutierrez still enjoys a good relationship with the Italian marque and is sure he has a successful future at Maranello.
“Yes, I still have good relationships with the teams I’ve raced for, especially with Ferrari,” Gutierrez said.
“We had a fantastic year last season, and we developed a very good relationship together. We’ll be working together through the engines and gearbox.
“So that’s something that makes it very special that I can continue that relationship through a team that I have a big belief, and we have good years ahead.”