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F1 2016 Driver Review: Esteban Gutierrez

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Esteban Gutierrez

Team: Haas F1 Team
Car No.: 21
Races: 21
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: 11th (Spain, Monaco, Austria, Germany, Singapore)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 0
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 21st

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

As a big believer in Esteban Gutierrez, I really thought that 2016 was the year he would come good and prove his worth to Formula 1. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, with the season including a number of missed opportunities and some slices of bad luck.

I had a running joke on Twitter that P11 should be renamed ‘PGutierrez’, given he always seemed to be running 11th (he spent 132 laps in 11th, more than any other driver). And that really summed up his season: on the fringe of points, but never quite in there.

Gutierrez looked more at ease when F1 hit Europe, but the early jitters were then replaced by frustration. His reaction to retiring in Brazil really summed up how sour things had got for the Mexican.

Given the 29-0 points loss to teammate Romain Grosjean, the VF-16 Haas car clearly had what it took to give Gutierrez his chance to shine. It wasn’t taken.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Esteban Gutierrez scored five 11th-place finishes in 2016. Such a statistic is the perfect characterization of Esteban Gutierrez’s F1 career – so close, yet so far away.

While Romain Grosjean seized every opportunity available to capture points this year for Haas, Gutierrez came up just shy every time, and sometimes that was with better qualifying runs that got him into Q3.

It was a frustrating year for Gutierrez, from the consternation in the buildup to Melbourne as highlighted in an NBCSN documentary, to the Melbourne crash with Fernando Alonso, to the disagreement caught on camera in Brazil. Gutierrez seems confident he has a future in F1 but it won’t be at Haas in 2017, after a tough season.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.