4 March 2014
Exclusive Esteban Gutierrez Q&A ahead of 2014 F1 season
Esteban Gutierrez talks exclusively to Crash.net about his hopes for his second season in F1 with Sauber
How do you feel this year compared to last year going in to the new season? What has changed?
Well I've established different goals which I want to improve in some ways and I'm working on them. I've been working on them in these first few months of the year, which is definitely a priority because at this level you have to be 120% on the developments that are happening around you. Together with my experience I'm being able to compliment that in a very positive way.
And what are those goals? Are they definite results-based goals?
Everything brings the consequence of the result. On the communication side, the way I communicate … you have to analyse yourself and then put together certain goals that can be achieved. Obviously in terms of results it is important that a goal cannot be too precise. The first instance is to be a leader in the team in terms of results and then pushing the team forward together in the direction which we all want to go.
With a new team-mate in Adrian Sutil this year he's more experience in terms of years in F1 but new to this team, so what do you have to do to beat him?
It's all related to performance. It's not very easy to go out on track, get on the limit, get things right and avoid mistakes; that's the way to do it. I'm confident that I have the ability and the capacity to be at this level and that I can develop myself even further.
Are the regulations badly timed for you this year? You've had one year's experience and you'd like to build on that but then there's this massive change that you've got to deal with again?
Yeah but it makes things more interesting as well. It's nothing to be related to a disappointment; it's interesting to have these kinds of things. It opens your mind even more and the work gets even more intense so as a driver you have to get even more involved in to the technical side in terms of understanding and then complement that with the engineers and the mechanics and everyone you are working with.
With the sort of work that has had to go on in testing, is it frustrating that the sport is less about the pure mechanics of the car and driving it? There are all these electronics and software which have to be dealt with which take things out of your hands and the team's hands as well…
At the end of the day this is Formula One. Formula One is about innovation, Formula One is about bringing new technologies and we need to be aware of that. We cannot write that off because we need to keep bringing new things and things that can give something to the rest of the industries around which are related.
When you are driving the car now compared to last year's, are you surprised by how much you have had to change your driving style?
Yes, there's a lot of thinking on that! There's a good strategy on that as well to complement it. My direct input in the driving itself can help to be more efficient on the fuel consumption and those kinds of things. It's important to get a good overall picture of the whole situation.
You're trying to build up a lot of new information now this year but what are the main things that you learned from your debut season?
I think it's mainly the experience I gained which gives me more confidence. It's important to have this confidence in order to have the space to take other priorities which are at the moment my communication with the team, my understanding with the technical side, my understanding with the tyres, and you can go more specific in those areas. That gives me a better picture of the whole thing, a better perspective, and allows me to perform in the way I'm looking for.
You had a highly-rate team-mate last year as well in Nico Hulkenberg, was there much you learned from him? Or was it more about focusing on your own things rather than what is happening on the other side of the garage?
At the end of the day every driver has his own space, his own mindset and his own plans as well. I was in my rookie season, he was coming in to his fourth year and Nico was a good benchmark for me in my first year. That pushed me to work on different things that I probably wouldn't work on without having such a strong team-mate. So I'm pleased with that and I'm looking to develop myself further so I can continue that trend.
What do you need to develop the most? Nobody likes talking about them but what do you feel are your biggest weaknesses at the moment?
I'd say qualifying. A little bit of inconsistency in qualifying. It's somewhere where I need to really establish a pattern which will give me the confidence to push forward. For example in the race performance I've always been quite confident and the way everything was managed was very good, even though we didn't have great qualifying sessions. I think myself getting more consistency can give me a big boost in other things.
With what you have right now as a car and a package, what are your realistic goals going to Melbourne?
It's difficult to say precisely because the times are very difficult to mention. So it's something that we have to wait and see, but obviously most important is to get a full understanding of the whole picture. After that we can see what our position is.
You're like most drivers in that your ultimate goal is to become world champion; how far do you think you can go towards that goal with Sauber? Does this team have the potential to grow enough?
I have a great opportunity to develop myself at a very good level and then it depends on the situation. I'm in a team where I can show my potential and then see what the future brings. You never know; the team situation is changing year-by-year. The team itself can develop even further or with teams there can be other opportunities as well. This is something that we will have to see in the future.
If you could map out your dream career, how would that go? Would you be a multiple world champion or is one title enough? Who would it be with?
Multiple world champion dominating everything! With multiple teams…
Some people say winning the title with Ferrari is the dream…
Ferrari is a great team, but there are other teams like McLaren and Mercedes at the moment which are great companies and great teams. Sauber is also a great team and it's a great company. I think it has a lot of potential so let's see how much further we can get.
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