Gutierrez to stay at Sauber as Sirotkin gets test drive

2014 F1 drivers and teams

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Sepang, 2013Esteban Gutierrez will remain at Sauber for a second season in 2014, the team has confirmed.

Gutierrez will remain at the team, which he made his F1 debut for this year, alongside new team mate Adrian Sutil.

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said the team had chosen to retain Gutierrez, who managed a single top ten finish in his first season, because “we believe he is is a talented young racing driver”.

“Last season he experienced first hand how hard it can be for a rookie to step into Formula One,” she explained. “Nevertheless, throughout the season he improved significantly in qualifying as well as in the races and finished the year as the best rookie in the drivers? championship. Often the results didn?t fully reflect his performances.”

“I am confident Esteban will be able to use his experiences to gain results, and this will be helped by the fact he is very well acquainted with every member of the race team.??

Gutierrez said: “It was a steep learning curve last season, but by working closely with the team I was able to improve continuously.” The 22-year-old added he expects the challenge from the new technical regulations next year to be “massive”.

Sauber also announced Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex, which has backed Gutierrez’s career, will remain a major sponsor of the team in 2014.

Sergey Sirotkin, the 18-year-old Russian who was in contention for a race seat, will serve as test driver next year.

“We have been working with Sergey since August, and he has been able to gain more and more insight into Formula One,” said Kaltenborn. “Now he is taking the next step towards the top level of motorsport in his new role as a test driver. Our experience of him is as a very focused, calm and talented driver.”

“Now we will continue to support him, including obtaining his super license. Our goal remains to prepare him for a debut in Formula One.”

Sirotkin said his main focus next year will be his second season in Formula Renault 3.5, but added: “It?s a big chance for me to become the test driver for the Sauber F1 Team.”

“Formula One is very complex, so it is important to get an opportunity like this.”

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79 comments on Gutierrez to stay at Sauber as Sirotkin gets test drive

  1. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 21st December 2013, 13:43

    People complain the rookies don’t get enough testing and shouldn’t be judged after one season so Sauber give their rookie driver another season and people still complain…

    • McKenzie (@mckenzie) said on 22nd December 2013, 11:00

      GUT impressed me with some of his GP2 performances. Yup, give the man a second chance; one season sometimes isn’t enough for a rookie to find their feet. Some highly rated drivers didn’t show promise until after a year or so, albeit some of them suffered a lot of DNFs – Mika Häkkinen, for example. Button only scored two points in his second year in F1, six points in 2007, and three points in 2008. Again, a lot of DNFs were part of the reason. The Brawn car was a major factor in Button’s 2009 championship but he still needed the skill to drive the car in the first place. So give GUT a chance – one year isn’t enough in some cases.

      I hope Chilton gets a second chance too. Having said that, I’ll probably be buried under a deluge of ‘Chilton is useless’ and similar comments. At least he didn’t lob the car into the barriers this year, which is more than some drivers were able to achieve.

  2. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 21st December 2013, 13:53

    Excellent news. Gutierrez is a hugely talented driver who, by his own admission, was not ready to step into F1 in 2013. I’m so relieved that Sauber have given him another chance to fulfill his potential. I’m confident that 2014 will be the year that Esteban shows us just how brilliant he is.

  3. I guess the wikipedia entry that’s been wrong for the past 6 months should be updated them. ROFLAMO, etc.

  4. Sauber (@mumito) said on 21st December 2013, 16:42

    Everybody think they are more intelligent than Sauber.
    I doubt it. Sauber picked MSC, VET, RAI, MAS, FRE, KUB among others. Why dont wait for GUT?
    As a Sauber fan, I’m pretty happy with the pick. The 2013 Saubers first 9 races mean nothing.
    Esteban has been working with Sauber for 4 years now. They know Esteban. And I think its a better pick that Sirotkin.

    • Yes, But using short term memory gives us the chance to lash out at a team that has endured in very prickly terrain, Letting Sirotkin marinate for another season was the best decision, rather than to throwing him in to the fire before his time, Sauber has no simulator to measure a future star. But You do make a good point, these guys have had their hand in the development of many great drivers, and Monisha has 2012, a great year for sauber and she was greatly responsible for that (if not all of it). All they need is that cap in the budget for every team, then we will see who is who.

  5. Peter Sauber made a lot of sacrifices to make sure his team stayed afloat when BMW left the sport. If this, rather uninspiring, driver lineup means the team can survive financially, then I wish them all the best. I just hope that they come up with a better paint job than this year

  6. vickyy (@vickyy) said on 21st December 2013, 18:27

    Does it mean Telmex will have presence on two cars? Or Perez is without Telmex sponsorship?

  7. A couple of years ago Sauber had the most exciting line up with Kobayashi and Perez, now they arguably have the least exciting line up with Sutil and Gutierrez.

    Sutil I expect will do okay, but he is very inconsistent, one his day he’s really good but in other races he looks below average. Gutierrez was really poor this year, yes he improved towards the end of the year but he still has a long way to go if he is to have a long term future in this sport, and I’m not convinced he can improve enough.

  8. sato113 (@sato113) said on 21st December 2013, 18:59

    um whats happening to VDG and Pic?

  9. I have to say I am pleased with the comments here, as Twitter and other F1 sites put a magnifying glass on the signing of Sirotkin as 3rd driver. ‘Youngster’, ‘crash kid’ and what have you.

    Honestly, Sutil and Gutierrez might be the least promising line-up so far, but it’s still miles beyond de la Rosa/Karthikeyan or Sauber folding.

  10. andae23 (@andae23) said on 21st December 2013, 20:57

    I’m still a bit undecided about Gutierrez. Purely from a driving point of view: I was watching him at turns 10-11 of the Hungaroring in GP3 2012, and I noticed he was the only driver that could really nail those turns. But if you look at onboards from 2013, he just looks very nervous. So perhaps the car just didn’t suit him in 2013.

    I think he deserves a second chance in 2014, hopefully to redeem himself.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 21st December 2013, 21:43

      @andae23, perhaps that’s it, that the car didn’t suit him, because it looked from the junior categories that he should have some speed. The problem with Gutierrez’ 2013 season is, in my opinion, that he only scored points once when the car was good, and by which time he had more than half a season of experience under his belt.

      He was obviously adapting to F1 in his first couple of races, but how much leeway should he be allowed for not delivering in the second part of the season? Hulkenberg was putting the car well into Q3 almost every race and scoring good points, whereas Gutierrez only occasionally did Ok. I just fear that next season Sauber will be struggling to score points with its current driver line-up.

  11. i’m okay with gutierrez, it’s just sutil i have a problem with.
    gutierrez is only in his second season, he can (and will) still improve, while sutil can not improve from being mediocre anymore. he’s had enough chances.
    i’d have picked van der garde over sutil, they bring in about the same amount of sponsorship money and van der garde seems like a talented chap, while sutil… won’t bring the team any further up the grid.

    • Please. Sutil is very capable of getting some decent results. Look at his pass on Alonso at Monaco, remember Monaco 2008…

      Everyone rates Paul di Resta so highly, he didn’t blow Sutil away, eventhough he was away for a whole year…

      Van der Garde hasn’t impressed at all, he was (barely) better than Pic and that’s it!

  12. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 22nd December 2013, 4:56

    Least. Inspiring. Driver. Line up. Ever.

  13. faulty (@faulty) said on 22nd December 2013, 6:10

    Sooooo… What happens if Guti -or any other newcomerish driver, but hopefully Guti- really nails down the style needed for the 1.6T/Kinergetic era (four, five years?), will they get snapped up pronto by the top 4? I can’t see RAI, ALO and BUT driving past 2016, that’s 37% of seats opening up in the next few years.

  14. I think this is a good move & expect Esteban to do significantly better in 2014 given 1 years experience.

    Lets not forget that Guttierez won the GP3 championship in 2010 & won races in GP2 in 2011/2012 on his way to 3rd in the GP2 championship in 2012 so he’s not as useless as a lot here seem to believe.

    He outpaced Hulkenberg a few times in 2013 including at Spa which is a real drivers circuit.

    He improved his pace over the 2nd half of the year but lost some results due to bad luck (The ridiculous penalty for been forced off track at spa for instance).
    With this year in the bag he will do well in 2014 & silence all the haters who were complaining about him before he’d even sat in the car pre-season.

  15. Sergf1 said on 23rd December 2013, 2:50

    Good move from Sauber. Gutierrez have showed he has the guts to race an F1. After he being the best rookie of last season and having set the fastest lap just in his 5th F1 race as in Spain when his car had not been improved as it was in the 2nd half of the season, beating superior cars and the best drivers. I think he’s got great potential for F1.

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