Insight: Has Gutierrez done enough to retain his seat?
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Dec 2013   |  11:56 am GMT  |  63 comments

Sauber last week announced that Adrian Sutil will join the team next season but they did not say who would partner the German.

Esteban Gutierrez will be hoping for a second chance, but much will depend on whether Sergey Sirotkin’s money and superlicence come through.

Did Gutierrez do enough this season to keep his seat? As part of our series of analysis of the head-to-head records of team pairings, here’s the analysis of the Mexican’s season alongside Nico Hulkenberg at the Swiss team.

It was a tough start to the year for Sauber but after the summer break, they unlocked the speed of the car and, in the hands of Hulkenberg, were able to get some impressive points scoring finishes.

Over the year, it was Hulkenberg who had the upper hand in qualifying. The German achieved a faster qualifying time 18 times to 1 and also achieved the best grid slot of third in Italy compared to Gutierrez’s best of ninth in Korea.

In the races, Hulkenberg was once again the stronger of the two, achieving 10 points finishes to Gutierrez’s one and finishing ahead 12 times to three when both cars saw the chequered flag.

When splitting the season in two, Hulkenberg retained his sizeable advantage in both parts of the year, heading the qualifying head-to-head 10-0 in the first part of the year and 8-1 in the second part.

Check out the statistics to see how Gutierrez struggled against Hulkenberg all season.

Hulkenberg v Gutierrez stats compared (highest respective tally in bold)



Faster qualifying time: Hulkenberg 18 / Gutierrez 1

Poles: Hulkenberg 0 / Gutierrez 0

Front rows: Hulkenberg: 0 / Gutierrez 0

Best qualifying finish: Hulkenberg 3rd (Italy) / Gutierrez 9th (Korea)


Wins: Hulkenberg 0 / Gutierrez 0

Poles: Hulkenberg 0 / Gutierrez 0

Points finishes: Hulkenberg 10 / Gutierrez 1 

DNFs: Hulkenberg 1 / Gutierrez 2 

Ahead in two-car finish: Hulkenberg 12 / Gutierrez 3

Highest finish: Hulkenberg 4th (Korea) / Gutierrez 7th (Japan)


Points: Hulkenberg 51 / Gutierrez 6

Championship placing: Hulkenberg 10th / Gutierrez 16th


First 10 races

Out-qualified team-mate: Hulkenberg 10 Gutierrez 0

Wins: Hulkenberg 0 Gutierrez 0

Podiums: Hulkenberg 0 Gutierrez 0

Points: Hulkenberg 4 Gutierrez 0

Retirements: Hulkenberg 1 Gutierrez 2

Final nine races

Outqualified team-mate: Hulkenberg 8 Gutierrez 1

Wins: Hulkenberg 0 Gutierrez 0

Podiums: Hulkenberg 0 Gutierrez 0

Points: Hulkenberg 6 Gutierrez 1

Retirements: Hulkenberg 0 Gutierrez 0

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Maybe the question should be has Gutierrez enough funds to retain his seat.


He's done much better than you could imagine what Kubayashi would have done.

So, the answer is yes.


I think it is typo.

Or he got confused with double negatives or something.

If this OP is sane, I think he meant the last word to be 'NO', not a yes...


Are you joking?


How do you figure that ? Kobayashi finished in the top 10 a few times and was on the podium at Suzuka.


What on earth makes you think that?!!!


Bull shhhhhhhhh

Based on remotely what exactly? Cost this is the most unbelievable comment on JAONF1 all yer long! By anybody, at all. Ever...


My dear fellow, Kobayashi finished 3rd in last year's

Japanese grand prix, scored 60 points in the 2012 championship and finished 12th in the standings. True, he had a more competitive Sauber than this year's version but to rank Gutierrez above him is...well, a leap of the cheque book. Sauber took that leap and they have had a painful time of it since. That hurts me as much as anyone, I like

Sauber. They've got guts and I hope they return

stronger in 2014, with or without Gutierrez.


Given the lack of testing it's much more difficult for rookies these days.Even Hulkenberg took a while to get up to speed with Rubens at Williams as I recall, and many regard him as a star of the future. From around Spa I thought there were signs Gutierrez wasn't out of his depth in F1.In an ideal world I suspect Sauber might like to build on that. But sadly as everyone knows the question will come down to can they afford to?


Yes, there is very little testing in modern F1 but Gutierrez has been an official Sauber test driver for last 2-3 years, he has driven those cars every time there was an opportunity. Has has also spent many race weekends with the team, getting to know the people, the processes and being able to watch Sauber's regular drivers. Should have done better, much better. One of the bigger disappointments of the year. And someone above to say he's done better than Kobayashi would - what a joke. I didn't think people capable of making such comments come to this website.


I didn’t think people capable of making such comments come to this website. - Thank you for voicing my thoughts. I was so flabergasted with that statement that my mind wasn't able to compound words together to form a coherent sentence.


Performance will have little to do with things. All about the budget.


Do Sauber have enough money to even choose the best driver for the seat?

Do Sauber require the cash now at the start of the year to survive, or can they think longer term and take a driver that will earn them more millions by scoring more points for the 2014 Constructors? To take a driver that can potentially help them recover for 2015 and beyond as well?

That's the question, and if they can - you know what's coming 😉 - the best man left is Paul DR.

Not because he is British etc but:-

Because of his experience and how he can make the Pirellis work on typical Sauber/FI strategies,

Because he has improved to beat Sutil 48 - 29 in 2013,

Because he was very close to Hulk as teammates, losing out in the final two races, a lot closer than Guit etc.

Because he is not 14 years old and 'the next Senna' -yeah yeah 'cos those over 25 must be past it.

Because he was good enough to be mentioned by Luca di Monty as a potential Ferrari driver, before the FI became a dog to drive on the changed tyres.

Because he beat Sutil 8-3 in '13 races finished together, like when they weren't being hit by Pastor or their wheels were stuck on the hubs.

Because he can overtake, even at Monaco, such as his pass on Massa round the outside of St Devote - at speed, not a 15mph jab down the inside praying nobody turns in whilst in a Rosberg train.

Because from scanning the live timings, he can nail good Sunday lap pace, despite being on a conservative FI strategy,

Because he cares enough to improve his team he has a rant at them when needed !?! 😉

Because from decent past results he deserves a seat more than many with seats,

Because he beat Sutil 12 - 7 in qually '13,

Because after driving so well at the start of '13 he recovered from the shockingly poor handling FI with the tyre change, when Sutil was also spinning backwards into Webber, to finish 2013 well.

Because he has a great past record proving he can cut it, driving the wheels off his older DTM car, beating Sebastian Vettel etc (I know he's not like Seb now before knickers get all in a twist 😉

Because his race suit pockets have copper coins in them, not corporate millions like Chilton, Van DG, Sutil, Perez, etc, and mega bucks Maldo.

Because he very rarely says 'for sure'!

Because he doesn't come with fake blonde WAG/ celebrity entourage etc !?!

Because he is 'boring' - a bit like Andy Murray (ok, I've run out of things now - my best drivers for remaining seats sales pitch is nearly over...

...mainly, by far, because it bugs that the not so good pay drivers are taking over the financially challenged teams more than ever before.

F1 for me needs to have the best drivers racing as well as the best cars.

(plus better tyres would be nice 😉


Very well put. PDE thoroughly deserves to be in F1. His achievements speak for themselves.


+1 and well said..


So question is should Paul Di Resta have an F1 drive at force India or anywhere else for that matter.

Good question. Is he less good than every other driver on the grid next year? NO, he's a solid top 12 driver currently so on that basis should stay in F1.

Is he a team player. According to Catherhams Cyril Abdul that's also a no, he said of pay drivers that they have to be more ameniable to helping teams secure sponsorship like Alonso and Santander. Well that's all from a certain perspective Cyril. Heiki Kovalinen similarly said he is not a pay driver. He also justified that by saying "he does not brings big sponsor to F1 or any perspective team. However Cyril said 'and I agree with this' that F1 drivers need to "TRY" and help their teams get sponsorship and when drivers think they deserve a seat without committing time to that then that can keep looking! Pay drivers exist.... If you don't agree then what's that guy called that bring 3 times his salary to Ferrari each year oh yeah Fernando Alonso.

Teams need drivers that will hunt for sponsors as actively as they do. Paul Di Resta if you are wondering why McLaren looked past you or Ferrari or even Force India then I'm sorry to say "cos I'm a fan and he is quick" look no further!


Finally someone who has actually looked past the "he"s dull and moany" nonsense. The best post I have read on here in months with regards to Di Resta.


I wasn't convinced by Paul but I have to say that's fair comment. I think he's better than given credit for. Maybe no champion but a decent midfield runner.


Interesting that despite 'being in Ferraris thoughts', when a seat became available there Hulkenberg was a sure thing until Raikonnen suddenly came into the market.


Wow Gutierrez got destroyed, I have heard rumours Petrov may make a return, i would like to see Petrov back he did an OK job in his first stint...who else is left:


van Der Garde


Its hard to say who is the best fit, these drivers have had difficulty showing their potential this year with slow machinery. Tough Choice, Just give good old nick heidfeld a call, sorry i just watched his goodwood lunatic


It's his F1 record you shoul consider not his "race up a hill at someone's farm in an old sports car record"


Sorry JA but this tells us squarely nothing! NH is a world class driver coming into his prime and EG is a 21/22 yo rookie with next to no experience. Why doesn't your article mention that EG qualified within a tenth of NH at Spain and Monaco (Monaco ffs!), matched him through practice pretty much every week and only got trounced in quali cause he's not mastered the art of producing the best when it matters (see Esteban's GP2 career for further evidence of this). Also this season against NH has perfectly mirrored his first GP2 season against Bianchi - he followed that up with podiums, race wins and 3rd in the championship so in short YES absolutely Esteban deserves a second year. If he fails to produce again then he's had his chance.


There's no question that Gutierrez didn't measure up to Hulkenberg, but I think he was improving and if nothing else he's still a known quantity against Sirotkin.

Question is, does he still have the backing of Slim?


Agreed. If you were to answer the question in the title based purely on the numbers, then the answer would be no! But for me he showed enough glimpses in the second half of the season to think "maybe this guy deserves a second season in F1." And that's particular so when you compare him to Sirotkin's inexperience.

If he gets a second season, I hope he shows us some more of his potential though. Don't want to see a repeat of Sebastien Bourdais here (and I speak as a Bourdais fan)!


There is a question worth answering. Answer, I'm afraid I don't know. Gutierrez did okay if you look beyond the statistics and also beyond the first half of a rookie season. Gutierrez although out qualified 8 - 1 actually tha margin was oftern less than a tenth of a secon which is of course much closer than Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button average quallifying time difference. So is that a reason, NO.

In the last half of the season when both cars finished the same race it was 5 - 3 so not a massacre like some say. Remember Nico Hulkenberg did nothing at all impressive until the second half of his first season with Williams F1 team.

On skill yes Guttierez deserves a second season but sponsorship backing in the COSTLY new age of regulations costs £ of € depending on your offshore bank account...


You missed an important stat!

Sponsorship £££


Good man for pointing it out. I genuinely thought money didn't matter in F1

Unless you driver for Marrusia.

Bs bs bs bs bs

Sponsorship isn't the issue here it seems to be weather or not


Driver is happy and willing to support a team and themselves in gaining sponsors for the teams budget



I rate Hulk highly, I really want to see him in a top seat before too long, but even for a rookie those results are pretty poor. Gutierrez hasn't really done enough to justify a place on merit, but sponsorship may well save him.


Wow. Thats pretty emphatic. Experience and Hulkenberg's talent aside, if Gutierrez had the talent for a long term career in Formula 1 his stats would surely have been better than this. He seemed pretty quick in GP2 but this is a bit of a whitewash. Sauber need to get some proper talent in that car to replace the Hulk.


"Sauber need to get some proper talent in that car to replace the Hulk" . . . coz Sutil is probably a step down. They could have a good car but middle order drivers at best at this rate.


I can't help but feel that the reality of F1 is that powers that be "cast" the roles based on defined criteria. Then ensure success for that character/driver. Unfortunately, some are not able to hold a star role next to the DeCaprios and Damons of F1.


I know what you mean, the media and F1 commentators really emphasise the given character traits, particularly guys like Johnny Herbert.

Not sure about your star examples of F1 though, I mean Andrea DeCaprioes the blue flag ignorer and Damons Hill the one hit wonder... 😉


"Damons Hill the one hit wonder…"

Like Hamilton?


Comparing Gutierrez to Nico makes no sense.

In my view, someone else should get a change (even though he comes with funding).


Esteban has had a really bad year in comparison with his team mate. He had glimpses of speed, however, but this is not enough to justify a second year in Sauber.

He is not such a bad driver, on his CV having won the Formula BMW Europe, the GP3 Series, and being 3rd in his only second season of GP2 with 3 wins.

Would he retain his seat this next year, he has really to show much more pace and racecraft not to be remembered on F1 history as any other example of a uninspiring pay driver.


Do you feel this article answers the central question James? We know he got a good kicking from NH. But would you give him another go? For me? Yes. It's his progress during the year that should be analysed, don't you think?


Short answer: NO!!!


We know how good Nico is but come on! This is ridiculously poor by any standards, to have scored so little in a car which was capable of so much in the second half. Absolutely not deserving of it, when Kobayashi lost his seat for him.


Hi James, offtopic...

would you mind to introduce the team?

just brief article who are different people posting articles, their background etc.


It's a shame that after following him through the junior series and hoping that he would make it to F1 to demonstrate his raw talent that he's had such a disappointing year. Hopefully he is retained next year, and that next to Sutil he is able to live up to expectation.


No. Same as Chilton. They had a shot, there is plenty of talent who also deserve a shot.

F1 should not be a refuge for mediocre drivers. There are only 22 of them and they all should be exceptional.

Because of Gutierrez and Chilton a real talent does not get a chance.

Tornillo Amarillo

GUT was better than MALDONADO and BOTTAS together...

He will match Sutil in 2014, somebody will pay for see that, it happens or not. I think it'll happen.


Your argument is not as strong as it could be...

You cannot put Bottas in that take it out.

But you have left out other names he could also beat as a replacement.

I think he is just a bit better than Chilton. He is also way better than Narain Karthikeyan.

Also...Not only will he match Sutil, he will beat Sutil if he was to drive the 3rd Redbull.


Tornillo Amarillo

We understand backwards...


Yeah he's probably come up a little short to be given another chance. But he was getting stronger in the latter part of the year. If they don't get options and Sirotkins money- they will probably keep Estaban. Otherwise wouldn't it be funny if Sutil found himself back with Di Resta at Sauber !


I think Sutil would prefer Guit to PdR to make his life easier. Imagine if he found that out at his welcome champagne reception party! Carnage! 😉


"I think Sutil would prefer Guit to PdR to make his life easier. "

Now people are comedians...


Considering Sauber put Esteban onto the grid a year earlier than they planned, dictated by the Carlos Slim funding, the points he scored show me at least, that he should retain the seat for a second year.


He does monster neck-work-outs. In case they build a fast car, lateral G's are no issue!


Not really. Give someone else a chance.


Paul di Resta should get the Sauber drive in normal circumstances. I don't like him very much but i think he would be the best option. Bruno Senna and Kamui Kobayashi should be second and third options. The former deserved a chance he never had in F1. With fair conditions he did a better job than Kobayashi in the WEC, with 5 poles and 3 wins with the Aston Martin while the japanese had 0 poles and 0 wins with the GTE championship winning Ferrari AF Corse. However the latter is younger, knows Sauber F1 team very well, was happy there and handles pressure well, so he could also be a very good option to race alongside Sutil. The german did well after a year out and I think for 2014 with the change in rules that could help more a driver coming bak to the "sport"...


He deserves another go, he showed significant improvement as the year went by, particularly as Sauber gained competitiveness. I don't think he's the next Michael Schumacher but then again even Michael Schumacher struggled with this era of F1 cars.


Maybe i'm hard on the rookie but my vote is no.


I think Gutierrez did more than enough in the second half of the season to keep the seat. He was clearly very raw at the start, but as he started easing in to Formula One, he started showing some impressive form, not all that far off of Hulkenberg- one of the absolute best on the grid- a lot of the time.

If someone were going only off what Grosjean showed when he was paired with Alonso, no one would have imagined that he would have become the driver he is today. Gutierrez was at least as impressive as Grosjean was when he got thrown in the seat in 09, and he showed progress, which is what you want to see from a young driver like him. He needs some more time, but at some point, F1 needs to start giving this to drivers if they want to keep the talent level in the sport up.


This is formula one. Expectations are high, season targets for rookies are higher then ever before.


You dont have to look far past Seb and Torro Rosso. Every team wants that one guy, that guy that can put the car where it just shouldnt be.

Senna would make the car dance to his beat in conditions where his 2 step should lead too the wall. Sebs achieved simular things with the Torro Rosso and Red Bull.

McLarens gamble in a rookie is for the same reason. why else would you risk it.

so had Estaban done enough? Unfortunately not


It would have been great to have seen Kobayashi back in F1 - but does he deserve a second chance? Without statistics to hand I seem to remember him not blowing Sergio Perez away, who floundered alongside Jenson Button this year (I don't rate JB that highly). Maybe the pressure of McLaren got to SP. I would have liked to have seen Jules Bianchi in the second Sauber this year. On a side note there does need to be another team in F1 if only for the purpose of keeping some drivers within the F1 fold. PDR should still be in F1. James, why do you think Ferrari chose KR over N Hulkenberg?


“All we are saying, is give Esteban a chance”


But I think there is one tiny little thing to remember, Esteban is a rookie, I mean take Mika Hakkinen for example, on his first year in Formula 1 he ended up 16th on the championship and retired 6 times, I think that maybe Esteban deserves another chance.


James I like to play the game I call - If's and But's

IF Kobayashi would have been retained in favour of Esteban who has a bigger purse, he would have definitely brought home enough points for Sauber to beat FI which would have meant more prize money. They would have got that money for the all important 2014 season and may not have to resort to Sirotkin.

So from Financial perspective who would have brought more money to the team? GUT in pesos or KON in points

BUT if they had not got the Gutierrez money at the beginning of 2013 then they wouldn't have be able to develop the car which allowed THE HULK to get all those points in the first place and in this case they would have had a worse car and beating FI would be copletely out of question and so the Mexican made sense.

BUT BUT - Having KOB might have given them a better base with one driver carrying on from previous year better technical feedback and hence help develop the car faster ultimately beating FI...

AAAAAH what is the correct answer?


answer: no

gutierrez and chilton presence in f1 remains a mistery.

gutierrez was totally destroyed by hulkneberg.

hulkennberg is good, but still managed to deliver good performances mainly when the car was good too. sauber gained some podiums in the past with other drivers, so I don't think hulkneberg can be called phenomenon.

so I imagine gutierrez shouldn't be a f1 driver. too poor if compared to a good/very good driver.

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