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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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.


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?


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.


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


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?


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


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.


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


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.


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”…


Not really. Give someone else a chance.


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


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.


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…

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 list…so 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…


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.


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.


Hi James, offtopic…

would you mind to introduce the team?

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


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.


Short answer: NO!!!


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?


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.


Comparing Gutierrez to Nico makes no sense.

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


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?


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.

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