Tag Archives: Esteban Gutierrez

Formula One: The Final Seats

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As the  F1 world rapidly heads towards the winter break. The sport finds its self in a highly unusual position of having for seats still to be confirmed on the 2017 grid.

Whilst it is not out of the ordinary for seats at the lower end of the field to still be open at this point on in the year, for a seat to be open with the championship winning team is almost unimaginable. Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement from the sport has effectively stalled the driver market with no driver or team wanting to make a commitment before Mercedes conclude a deal with whoever their new driver will be.

At the time of writing favourites for the drive alongside Lewis Hamilton with the Silver Arrows in 2017 are; Valtteri Bottas, Pascal Wehrlein, and my own favourite Sergio Perez. Which ever driver is awarded the drive will have a knock on effect for the teams they are currently or likely to be driving for.

Should Mercedes manage to agree terms with Williams and they release Bottas, the team will be left with serious lack of experience in their driver line up as they head towards one of the most technically challenging regulation changes in two decades., As such working with Pascal Wehrlein who has only taken part in 21 races in unlikely to be their first choice.  More likely would be development driver Paul Di Resta taking the role or recently retired Felipe Massa or Jenson Button making an unexpected return.

In the scenario in which Mercedes take the brave move of putting Pascal Wehrlein in the second seat of the W08, Manor Racing will be left with two seats to fill. The team are likely to be secure drivers with funding, which could lead to a return of a funded Rio Haryanto to the grid. Anther option could be Felipe Nasr should, a driver Bernie Ecclestone has commented he is keen to keep on the grid to assure Brazilian interest in the Championship. Manor Racing development driver Jordan King is likely to find a role within the team. Dependant on the budget he brings this could be in the role of reserve or second driver.

Moving to Sauber, with Marcus Ericsson confirmed the rejuvenated Swiss team have one seat still to fill. 2017 will be a season of rebuilding for the team, as such their focus will be on ensuring consistency and strong feedback. In an ideal world I can imagine the team would like to work with a driver already familiar with the world of F1. Critics may dismiss this option but I would not rule out Pastor Maldonado finding a new home in Hinwil. Should the team head down the rookie route GP2 vice champion Antonio Giovinazzi would be a bold move and one demonstrating the team’s commitment to the future.

Sergio Perez moving to Mercedes would cause Sahara Force India a great deal of pain. Of course Mercedes would compensate the team, but over the past 3 seasons Force India have focused the majority of their business development efforts around building a profile in Mexico. To loose Perez would be a major blow. As such I can see them looking to replace one Mexican for another and signing Esteban Gutiérrez to the team.

One thing is for sure, the F1 silly season is far from over and it still has a few surprises in store!

Formula One: Mercedes elevate Haas in Qualifying

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The Haas F1 team achieved their best qualifying positions of the season Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez qualifying 8th and 10th respectively for the Japanese Grand Prix earlier today.

The teams elevated positions on the grid can be in part attributed to continued concerns from Mercedes Powered teams around the reliability of their power unit following Lewis Hamilton’s engine failure at the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Williams F1 team, whose drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas qualifying 12th & 11th confirmed they were using an older power unit (unit 3 of the allocated 5 per season) at the request of Mercedes.

It is understood similar precautions have been taken with at both Force India and Manor Racing. The Mercedes works team also confirmed neither Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg were permitted to run power units at fully optimised levels during qualifying. Completing qualifying in at reduced performance levels may explain why the gap to Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari was less than in recent qualifying sessions.

Non Mercedes powered teams can expect  similar cautionary actions to be taken in the race tomorrow, no doubt every effort will be taken by other teams to capitalise on this opportunity and apply pressure to the power unit dominating the series.

Formula One: Leclerc joins the Haas F1 Team

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Monaco born Charles Leclerc, a 2016 member of the Ferrari Driver Academy currently competing in the GP3 Series for ART Grand Prix, will get his first taste of a Formula One car when he drives the VF-16 for Haas F1 Team on July 8 during the first practice session (FP1) for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Haas F1 Team driver Esteban Gutiérrez, a Ferrari Driver Academy alumnus, has relinquished his seat to allow Leclerc to obtain valuable Formula One experience. Following Silverstone, the 18-year-old Leclerc will reappear in FP1 sessions July 22 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, July 29 at the German Grand Prix, Sept. 30 at the Malaysian Grand Prix and Nov. 25 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In each session, Leclerc will drive Haas F1 Team’s No. 21 car

“This is a fantastic opportunity to get seat time in a Formula One car and I can’t thank Haas F1 Team and Esteban enough,” said Leclerc, who won the season-opening GP3 Series race May 14 at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.  “I’m honored by the faith Haas F1 Team and Ferrari have in me. This is an important step toward my ultimate goal of becoming a Formula One driver.”

Leclerc has quickly risen through the karting ranks and into single-seat, open-wheel machines. After winning 11 karting championships between 2005 and 2013, including an outright title in the 2012 WSK Euro Series Championship, Leclerc graduated to Formula Renault 2.0 in 2014, collecting a pole, two wins and nine podiums in 14 races. In 2015, Leclerc moved to the FIA Formula 3 EuroSeries, earning three poles, four wins and 13 podiums in 33 races.

Leclerc’s motorsport career to date has been backed by watchmaker Richard Mille, a significant partner of the Haas F1 Team. The announcement of his rapid graduation into an F1 development driver position comes at a time of rumours around the Haas F1 Team on suggestions of dissatisfaction with the performance and feedback this season from Esteban Gutiérrez.