New kid on the block: Esteban Gutierrez

5 Feb

So give us the basics?

Esteban Gutierrez is a Mexican driver and will racing for Sauber in Formula 1 next season. Esteban is only 21 years old and at the age of 17 became the youngest Mexican driver to win an International competition having won the Formula BMW European Championship.

So how did he start?

Esteban started in karting before progressing to the American Formula BMW championship in 2007 where in his debut season he finished second, setting the foundations for a move to the European version which he won in 2008. Having won the European Formula BMW Esteban progressed to Formula 3, and although he didn’t win a race he did do enough to get a seat in the inaugural GP3 season, during which Gutierrez won 5/16 races to be crowned the champion. He then took the logical step to move into GP2, and surprisingly made the step up quite comfortably winning a race in his rookie season before putting in a fantastic performance the following year to finish 3rd in the championship after 7 podiums.

Has he had much F1 car experience?

Compared to rookies in recent years he’s had loads, his first F1 test was back in 2009 with Sauber (then BMW Sauber) s reward for winning the European Formula BMW, and the following year he took part in young driver’s test at Abu Dhabi also driving for Sauber. Surprisingly Guitierrez almost made his debut in the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix after countryman Sergio Perez was injured at the previous race, but since Esteban was in Mexico at the time De La Rosa was chosen instead. At the end of 2011 Guitierrez was chosen to drive in the Young Driver’s test in Abu Dhabi again, and in 2012 he did the young driver’s test and a friday practice session (Perez was unwell).

So he’s pretty experienced. Is he a pay driver?

There is considerable financial backing behind Gutierrez, since he is part of Escuderia Telmex a scheme set up by Telmex owner and the world’s richest man Carlos Slim, but to say Esteban’s only there because of money isn’t true, he does clearly have talent.

So how do you expect him to do this season.

Very well, he should provide a worthy challenge for Nico Hulkenburg even though I do expect him to lose the inter-team battle at the end of the season. After this season he should have done well enough to merit another season with Sauber and in a couple of years time he could find himself in a similar position to what Sergio Perez is currently in.

What’s his rating?

7.5/10 he has real potential and you never know in a few years time he could be competing for race victories.

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