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In defence of Esteban Gutierrez


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#1 deepsouth

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 00:04

I've noticed of late that people are very quick to pass judgement on the abilities of certain drivers, without really considering things like their age (and lack of experience), their record in lower categories, or the difficult circumstances they face now that they've made it to Formula 1.

Gutierrez is a good example of this. He's in his first year at this level, and is one of the youngest drivers on the grid. Looking back on his record till now, I think it's unfair to say he lacks the talent or is undeserving of a drive - he won the GP3 series at his very first attempt, aged only 18 or 19. He then went to GP2 and finished 3rd as a mere 20 year old, beating far more experienced guys like Van der Garde (who, it seems, has since been determined a better F1 driver).

I think most people agree that Hulkenberg is one of the most talented up and comers in F1, regularly being linked with a drive for one of the top teams. And fair enough. But even he has struggled to impress in what is clearly a pretty slow Sauber this year - he's 15th in the standings, compared to Gutierrez who's 18th. When you consider that Hulkenberg is 4 years older than Gutierrez, and has at least 2 full seasons more F1 experience, I actually think Gutierrez has done a more than respectable job. And unlike his teammate, he even chalked up a fastest lap, back at the Spanish GP, quite impressive for a supposedly sub-standard driver in a dog of a car.

I just wish people would be more gracious and patient with the drivers, especially the younger ones. If I was a young F1 driver and came onto an online forum to hear people casually casting me off into the 'not good enough' bracket before even my first season was out, I'd be extremely demoralised. People are so quick to pass negative judgements and adopt a pack mentality - a similar thing has happened with Grosjean, another guy I feel the need to defend.

Thoughts?

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#2 William Hunt

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 00:24

Off course, I fully agree and am of the same opinion as you. But the problem is that these days there are so few seats in F1 compared to the '80s (39 cars in 1989!) or the first half of the '90s that drivers don't get time anymore to develop over several years and nowadays they are entering F1 at a younger and younger age with immediate performance expected and even then they risked getting dumped at still a very young age (Alguersuari).

Drivers like Philippe Alliot for example were allowed to slowly develop over many seasons, he didn't make much of an impression in his first seasons but from his 1st season people were calling him one of the quicker drivers. And Alliot had entered F1 at age 29! He would drive his final F1 race aged 40.

There are many other examples of drivers who did get the time to develop over many years and were able to develop themselves in to solid midfield drivers: Dereck Warwick, Eddie Cheever, Alex Caffi, Stefan Johansson, etc...

The lack of F1 teams / seats these days doesn't only mean that drivers get less time to develop, it also means that less drivers get a chance in the first place and that lots of talent is wasted.

#3 RockBrocaine

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 00:26

I've noticed of late that people are very quick to pass judgement on the abilities of certain drivers, without really considering things like their age (and lack of experience), their record in lower categories, or the difficult circumstances they face now that they've made it to Formula 1.

Gutierrez is a good example of this. He's in his first year at this level, and is one of the youngest drivers on the grid. Looking back on his record till now, I think it's unfair to say he lacks the talent or is undeserving of a drive - he won the GP3 series at his very first attempt, aged only 18 or 19. He then went to GP2 and finished 3rd as a mere 20 year old, beating far more experienced guys like Van der Garde (who, it seems, has since been determined a better F1 driver).

I think most people agree that Hulkenberg is one of the most talented up and comers in F1, regularly being linked with a drive for one of the top teams. And fair enough. But even he has struggled to impress in what is clearly a pretty slow Sauber this year - he's 15th in the standings, compared to Gutierrez who's 18th. When you consider that Hulkenberg is 4 years older than Gutierrez, and has at least 2 full seasons more F1 experience, I actually think Gutierrez has done a more than respectable job. And unlike his teammate, he even chalked up a fastest lap, back at the Spanish GP, quite impressive for a supposedly sub-standard driver in a dog of a car.

I just wish people would be more gracious and patient with the drivers, especially the younger ones. If I was a young F1 driver and came onto an online forum to hear people casually casting me off into the 'not good enough' bracket before even my first season was out, I'd be extremely demoralised. People are so quick to pass negative judgements and adopt a pack mentality - a similar thing has happened with Grosjean, another guy I feel the need to defend.

Thoughts?


Yeah, but it still doesn't discount the fact that sponsorship is at least 50% of the reason he got his seat. Carlos Slim money.

#4 William Hunt

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 00:36

The fact that Slim is sponsoring money does not mean that Gutiérrez doesn't deserve that seat, I think he very much does deserve it. He has several titles on his cv including a European F. BMW title and a dominant GP3 title on 1st attempt and he was very competitive in GP2 as well. He deserves it on merit. It bothers me when people slam drivers as pay drivers when in reality many excellent drivers came in to F1 as pay drivers. Gutiérrez is way too talented to be labeled as 'just' a paydriver. I could understand people talking like that about drivers like Taki Inoue (who is a nice guy btw but he was very slow), Giovanna Amati, Giovanni Lavaggi, Huub Rothengatter, Shinji Nakano or Gaston Mazzacane but Gutiérrez does not deserve this: this is a guy with wins and titles on his cv and he should be given the chance to develop over a couple of seasons!

Edited by William Hunt, 06 August 2013 - 01:57.


#5 XOR

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 01:21

Such a typical story these days.

#6 Sin

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 05:05

Esteban far off being the worst rookie people just miss Kobayashi also... Sauber isn't as strong as last year

#7 bourbon

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 06:00

Gutierrez is doing fine. He had a couple of rough moments - some rookie mistakes. But nothing notable, which is as it should be. We have non-rookies who did much worse...

#8 JeePee

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 06:24

I think it's unfair to say he lacks the talent or is undeserving of a drive - he won the GP3 series at his very first attempt, aged only 18 or 19. He then went to GP2 and finished 3rd as a mere 20 year old, beating far more experienced guys like Van der Garde (who, it seems, has since been determined a better F1 driver).

Frijns became champion in Formula BMW, Renault 2.0 and WSbR 3.5 in just 3 years time and then went on to win a GP2 race in his 3rd weekend. He is (or was?) Saubers reserve driver, and the only reason he is not a racing driver, is because Guiterrez has more money. Not more talent.

The feeling Guiterrez is blocking a potential F1 world champion because of his sponsor money is overruling my feeling of him deserving to develop over a couple more seasons.

Edited by JeePee, 06 August 2013 - 06:25.


#9 deepsouth

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 06:45

Frijns became champion in Formula BMW, Renault 2.0 and WSbR 3.5 in just 3 years time and then went on to win a GP2 race in his 3rd weekend. He is (or was?) Saubers reserve driver, and the only reason he is not a racing driver, is because Guiterrez has more money. Not more talent.

The feeling Guiterrez is blocking a potential F1 world champion because of his sponsor money is overruling my feeling of him deserving to develop over a couple more seasons.


I see what you're saying, but it's not really Gutierrez's fault is it. And if he wasn't keeping guys like Frijns out of F1, another driver with money would.

I was going to say that Gutierrez is much more deserving of an F1 seat than someone like Chilton, but then it's not necessarily fair to pick on Chilton either. In being offered an F1 race seat they've got the opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream, and really, how many of us would turn that down, even if it was denying slightly quicker guys a chance?

It's a tricky predicament this pay-driver thing, but I don't think the blame rests with the drivers themselves, though I get they're easy targets for people's frustrations.


#10 JeePee

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 07:11

In being offered an F1 race seat they've got the opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream, and really, how many of us would turn that down, even if it was denying slightly quicker guys a chance?

Very true. And I'm not blaming him personally for taking the seat (it's the F'ed up financial situation F1 is in at the moment) Even I would accept a drive, and I probably can't even get the car out of the pitbox. But on the other hand I wouldn't be "extremely demoralised" if I went to this forum after the anti-stall kicked n 8 times. And Guiterrez shouldn't be either after being beaten time and time again bij Hulkenberg. He should know he isn't setting the world on fire with his performances. And considering his age, he should also know how the internet works.

#11 Wander

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 07:33

The "being demoralized" part is funny indeed. I doubt I would give two shits about what people wrote about me.

#12 rjsports

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 07:33

He is doing the best he can with the car he has. You can compare him with Bottas, who also can't show his speed. However, Gutierrez has been out in Q3 to many times if you ask me, and that makes it hard to fight for the points.

#13 Disgrace

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 07:51

I don't think the poor car argument is a particularly strong one, as if they were in a quick car, the points difference between the two Sauber drivers would be greatly amplified.

I think the first flyaway races demonstrated quite clearly that Gutierrez is in F1 at least one season too early. His performances in the races and qualifying were sub-standard, Bahrain and China especially horrible.

That said, I think the progress he has made has also demonstrated that his poor performances are more to do with inexperience rather a lack of talent in the mould of Piquet Jr. He deserves another season and hopefully, a better car to show further progress.

#14 spaceace1977

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 07:54

Mmmm...when you got a slow car you depend on circumstances like wet qualifying (Monaco, Montreal) to shine. Bottas qualified third in Canada and VDG was able to proceed to Q2 in Monaco.


#15 TFLB

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 10:36

I don't think the poor car argument is a particularly strong one, as if they were in a quick car, the points difference between the two Sauber drivers would be greatly amplified.

I think the first flyaway races demonstrated quite clearly that Gutierrez is in F1 at least one season too early. His performances in the races and qualifying were sub-standard, Bahrain and China especially horrible.

That said, I think the progress he has made has also demonstrated that his poor performances are more to do with inexperience rather a lack of talent in the mould of Piquet Jr. He deserves another season and hopefully, a better car to show further progress.

The points difference wouldn't be that big actually, because almost always Gutierrez is either very close behind or in front of Hulkenberg in the early stages of races, until Sauber inevitably mess up his strategy. At one race, I can't remember which one, he was ahead of Hulk but Sauber left him out far too long and pitted Hulk, so when he eventually did pit Gutierrez came out about 20 seconds behind. Yes, his qualifying is rubbish, but in race pace he's at least a match for his teammate.

#16 Jimisgod

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 10:50

He isn't all that bad, it's just he isn't good enough to warrant a seat with all these talented young drivers (da Costa, Frijns, Magnussen etc.) in search of one, and guys like Kobayashi on the sidelines. He's done less than Bianchi and Bottas and even VDG. I think he might mature into a decent midfield driver, but guys like that (Jamie A.) are not needed or missed in this F1 world.

#17 PayasYouRace

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 10:53

Thing is, I haven't really seen anything from Esteban that has made me sit up and take notice. Usually you only see him when he retires from a race for whatever reason.

#18 DutchQuicksilver

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 11:01

Though I don't believe he's ready for F1 yet, his car isn't helping either. If he had last year's Sauber, he would have had points for sure and we wouldn't even have this discussion.

#19 Baddoer

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 11:02

He is doing fine for a rookie. He was also very good in Spain, leading and scoring fastest lap in a dog car. In last races he was pretty close to Hulkenberg.

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#20 DS27

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 11:18

As a fan of the Hulk, I have been surprised how close he has been on many occasions so agree he deserves more time to shine.

#21 Anderis

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 11:48

I think poor car and strong, consistent team-mate make him look worse than he actually is. With the car as good as last year's Sauber, I'm sure he would have some decent point finishes by now. I disagree he isn't good enough to warrant a seat in current F1. If you give me a choice: Gutierrez, Kobayashi or da Costa for 3 years deal and no sponsorship brought with them, I would've strongly considered Gutierrez for sure. Very decent pre-F1 achievements, young age and he is that close compared to Hulk in some recent races, that I believe many established drivers would've some problems to match this kind of performances.

#22 muramasa

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 12:22


Comparing Kobayashi and Hulk, Gro, di Resta etc makes sense but comparing Kobayashi and Guti or da Costa is totally irrelevant and actually laughable.

Kobayashi performed up there straight away from debut and showed brilliance on so many occasions, also Perez who was quite on par with Kobayashi is faring v well against JB, while Guti is undeniably underperforming (altho not too crap), against Hulk (whose debut season was quite poor and forgettable), and his potential is totally unknown, and as for da Costa he hasnt even raced in F1 at all.


#23 Collective

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 13:09

I think he has been reasonably close to Hulkenberg in race pace. I think his main problems are a) teammate, as Nico is a great driver and seasoned enough to come up with the special lap in the right moment; and b) the car. As we have seen Nico has had to drive the wheels of that Sauber to just put it in 10th, sometimes not even that, so it's hard to expect points from his rookie teammate.

He needs to sort out qualy urgently, and then he will have a better chance for points. The pace is there I think.

Actually, I think Hungary was ripe for a breakthrough weekend before his engine failed right before the start of FP3. He had been faster than Nico in both Friday sessions, both long and short stints were looking good. Without any FP3 running his qualy was crap again, and in the race he was recovering and making the strategy work until his gearbox failed.

#24 handel

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 13:15

Here's the thing - why do pay drivers exist? Because of two reasons:

1) F1 Teams are compelled to accept financial support from drivers

2) Sponsors are compelled to support drivers because the return on investment for some reason is considered good, most likely because of the cache of F1 and the huge platform that it now is.


So in order to 'fix' this you have to do a few things which I don't see happening.

1) Stop F1 teams accepting money from drivers. Not gonna happen. If you outlawed it, teams would go under. If you make the organiser give more cash to the teams, the sums involved from drivers may still too significant to turn down - this could help though!

2) Stop sponsoring drivers becoming a popular thing to do. F1 would need to take a popularity nosedive for this to occur so I don't see it happening. The other side is that many sponsors these days are the families so you'll never fix that (Chilton would still get a seat no matter what you do basically).


The only thing that will keep this under control is a combination of things - enough naturally occurring talented & poor drivers popping up, a framework from the FIA to get their abilities recognised (more test days and a ban on financial contribution leading to test days), and an increased focus on performance related pay for the teams. In other words give them a touch more cash and make the jumps between WDC places greater to try and make going with a poor paydriver not economically beneficial unless they're as talented as the poor bloke.

Edited by handel, 06 August 2013 - 13:26.


#25 Atreiu

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 13:22

Thoughts?


Gosh, thaks for making everyone look dumb and impatient.;)

#26 SamH123

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 13:23

Apart from the wet qualis this year, Gutierrez' gap to Hulkenberg has not been much different to what Di Resta's gap was to Hulkenberg at the end of last season

Last 6 races of 2012 (Di Resta vs. Hulk) (Di Resta did have the upper hand for the first part of the year so these numbers maybe flatter Hulkenberg a bit)
japan -0.055
korea -0.215
india -0.748
abu dhabi -0.199
US -0.599
Brazil -0.417
Last 6 races of 2013 (Gut vs. Hulk)
spain -0.404
monaco -1.37 wet
canada -0.88 wet
british -0.498
germany -0.779
hungary -0.696

And Di Resta seems quite highly rated so while Gutierrez doesn't look like a future WDC right now, IMO he's respectable, better than Petrov/Chilton/Kovalainen


#27 Rybo

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 14:37

The "being demoralized" part is funny indeed. I doubt I would give two shits about what people wrote about me.


+1 If he reads these forums and does anything but laugh he shouldn't be a racing driver, let alone a F1 driver.

#28 SealTheDiffuser

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 14:42

unanimous verdict: guilty

stars shine instantly, he is probably good, but not good enough to become a champion or whatsoever.

#29 William Hunt

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 15:20

at people who are comparing Giedo van der Garde with Esteban Gutiérrez: Giedo is 28 years old, Esteban 22 (since yesterday), there is 6,5 years between them: not a fair comparison + I don't think Giedo is doing a better job as Esteban this year.

#30 Starish

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 15:29

Kamui Kobayashi just turned 22 when he made his debut, Esteban is 21.... both were in shit cars... the Toyota at that time of year was utter shite... we all know who did more, but back then it was more about how fast you were and maybe that helped kamui. right now Pirelli has a new breed of racing on our hands.

Also a fastest lap doesn't mean shit these days unless you run a proper full race stint, I'm sure a Caterham could slap on fresh supersofts with 3 laps to go and get a fastest lap.

Honestly... I forget Esteban is on the grid, Should he be there though? hell yes he made it .... its up to others to make it too.

#31 Jimisgod

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 15:37

Like I said, he's no match for Glock or Kobayashi... at least without his Mexican money.

I think Algesuari is a good comparison, except he turned into a competent driver after a rough start. That wasn't enough to save Jamie though.

#32 olliek88

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 16:11

He's a relatively young rookie but has been testing F1 machinery since 2009, he's not the worst prepared rookie ever but hasn't shown much, if any, improvement in pure pace which is the worrying part.

The gap between him and Nico in qualy this year doesn't paint a pretty picture...

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He's only half way through his rookie season so i'm not going to judge him just yet but he needs to show an upward curve in performance after the summer break to have a chance of keeping his seat next year IMHO, especially now Sauber have some more financial security.

#33 Collective

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 17:48

Kamui Kobayashi just turned 22 when he made his debut, Esteban is 21.... both were in shit cars... the Toyota at that time of year was utter shite... we all know who did more, but back then it was more about how fast you were and maybe that helped kamui. right now Pirelli has a new breed of racing on our hands.

Also a fastest lap doesn't mean shit these days unless you run a proper full race stint, I'm sure a Caterham could slap on fresh supersofts with 3 laps to go and get a fastest lap.

Honestly... I forget Esteban is on the grid, Should he be there though? hell yes he made it .... its up to others to make it too.


It's weird, the In defense of Esteban Gutierrez link is taking me to the Esteban Gutiérrez vs Kamui Kobayashi thread for some reason.

Oh well, now that I'm here: That "shite"of a Toyota scored a pole position and 5 podium positions (two seconds and two thirds).


#34 Anderis

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 18:10

Oh well, now that I'm here: That "shite"of a Toyota scored a pole position and 5 podium positions (two seconds and two thirds).

And Trulli qualified 4th and 6th in those two races Kamui had to drive that "utter shite".

#35 Baddoer

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 18:18

Kamui Kobayashi just turned 22 when he made his debut, Esteban is 21.... both were in shit cars... the Toyota at that time of year was utter shite... we all know who did more, but back then it was more about how fast you were and maybe that helped kamui. right now Pirelli has a new breed of racing on our hands.

That "shite" Toyota scored two consecutive podiums before Koba made his debut. He had good car underneath him.

#36 l8apex

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 18:19

Kamui Kobayashi just turned 22 when he made his debut, Esteban is 21.... both were in shit cars... the Toyota at that time of year was utter shite... we all know who did more, but back then it was more about how fast you were and maybe that helped kamui. right now Pirelli has a new breed of racing on our hands.

Also a fastest lap doesn't mean shit these days unless you run a proper full race stint, I'm sure a Caterham could slap on fresh supersofts with 3 laps to go and get a fastest lap.

Honestly... I forget Esteban is on the grid, Should he be there though? hell yes he made it .... its up to others to make it too.


The Toyota was far superior to the current Sauber. The Toyota drivers managed 5 podiums in the 2009 season.


#37 TFLB

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 19:08

unanimous verdict: guilty

stars shine instantly, he is probably good, but not good enough to become a champion or whatsoever.

Not necessarily. Button, for example, was mostly awful for his first couple of seasons, and he went on to be a champion. Massa also was dreadful.

#38 olliek88

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 19:12

Not necessarily. Button, for example, was mostly awful for his first couple of seasons, and he went on to be a champion. Massa also was dreadful.


Not really, they both showed glimpses of pace, Jenson had a bad 2nd season but a good 1st season considering his experience.

#39 Mauseri

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 20:59

He's a relatively young rookie but has been testing F1 machinery since 2009, he's not the worst prepared rookie ever but hasn't shown much, if any, improvement in pure pace which is the worrying part.

The gap between him and Nico in qualy this year doesn't paint a pretty picture...

He's only half way through his rookie season so i'm not going to judge him just yet but he needs to show an upward curve in performance after the summer break to have a chance of keeping his seat next year IMHO, especially now Sauber have some more financial security.

Agreed. If the quali gap was consistently near or below 0.5 sec I would have hope for him, but this looks bad. Well but seems like a nice guy so maybe people are soft on judging him.

Edited by Mauseri, 06 August 2013 - 20:59.


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#40 olliek88

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 21:05

Agreed. If the quali gap was consistently near or below 0.5 sec I would have hope for him, but this looks bad. Well but seems like a nice guy so maybe people are soft on judging him.


That'll soon change should he ever bump Vettel/Hamilton/Alonso off track!  ;)

#41 noikeee

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 01:22

He's a decent-but-not-great driver thrown a bit quickly into F1 against a superb-but-slightly-underrated team-mate, in a shit car. That's not really the position you want to be in to build your reputation.

Wouldn't completely rule him out on still making it to have a decent career, but that qualy gap to Hulk has been very damning. Shame, he looked proper promising when he first showed up in the lower ranks of the ladder.

#42 XOR

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 02:00

One thing is for sure he can become a champion in a Newey-designed car.

#43 DS27

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 06:39

Until we know how good Nico is it's impossible to say - but I think Nico may be very good. Consider this; if Bianchi were at Sauber who is to say he would have done any better than Esteban, and then people would be saying he is no good. But instead we have Bianchi beating Chiltern, very much a pay driver, so everyone says he's doing a fantastic job - it makes no sense.

Really, people need to consider the relative strengths of the car and team mate rather than just blindly looking at what the stats show.

Edited by DS27, 07 August 2013 - 06:40.


#44 SealTheDiffuser

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 08:52

One thing is for sure he can become a champion in a Newey-designed car.


yeah, like Coulthard

#45 noikeee

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 11:12

Consider this; if Bianchi were at Sauber who is to say he would have done any better than Esteban, and then people would be saying he is no good


Well... I'm pretty damn certain Bianchi would be doing better. Don't forget these lads have all been team-mates of each others in F3 for ART, albeit at different stages of their learning process, so we do have one point of reference albeit not super reliable. Bianchi was considerably more experienced, but absolutely ran circles around Esteban there.

#46 TheUltimateWorrier

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 11:18

Esteban far off being the worst rookie people just miss Kobayashi also... Sauber isn't as strong as last year

I think that's pretty much spot on. All the talk when he was announced was 'another rookie to smash up the grid along with Grosjean and Maldonado'. The only brain fart moment I can think Gutierrez having so far was shunting Sutil in China/Malaysia. He hasn't been the crash kid some people suggested he would be. Aside from him replacing Kamui :p , I didn't rate him too much as he didn't seem as impressive as Calado last year. Too early to tell, like others have said, as to what his real potential is.

#47 olliek88

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 17:07

yeah, like Coulthard


And Webber. And Frentzen. And Kimi. And JPM.

#48 SealTheDiffuser

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 18:17

And Webber. And Frentzen. And Kimi. And JPM.


All losers! Apart from Kimi (he only had bad luck...) :cool: (I was a huge fan of JPM, but I think he always was overrated!)

#49 Sin

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 18:44

All losers! Apart from Kimi (he only had bad luck...) :cool: (I was a huge fan of JPM, but I think he always was overrated!)


you got no clue bout Frentzen... no clue!...

#50 Kingshark

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 19:04

- Kobayashi joined F1 in 2009 at the age of 23 with a very good Toyota car, which took two consecutive podiums before he made his debut in Brazil.

- Gutierrez made his debut at the age of 21 in a shit Sauber which is probably the 8th best car on the grid, and so far hasn't really improved either.

The situations are incomparable.