Esteban Gutierrez insists that he won't allow the absence of a deal in place to remain in F1 next season to play on his mind, believing that he has shown enough to confirm that he deserves a place on the 2014 grid.

Even if his results don't show it, the Mexican finished his rookie season with a series of improved performances, but, with Sauber in a state of flux and several more experienced - and better financed drivers - on the market, he may yet find himself looking for alternative employment next year.

Although there is now doubt about whether WSbR midfielder Sergey Sirotkin - once seen as essential to a Russian 'rescue package' for the Swiss team - will get the necessary superlicence to race in 2014, Gutierrez still faces possible opposition from Adrian Sutil, Sergio Perez and, if he doesn't land the Lotus vacancy, Pastor Maldonado.

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While Mexican backing helped him replace McLaren-bound Perez a year ago, it is by no means certain to play as significant a part this winter, but Gutierrez appears to be keeping things in perspective.

"Life is bigger than F1," he told the sport's official website, "For a driver, F1 is, of course, very important - for me, it includes everything that I love: the sport, the technical side, the engineering side, the business and the political side - but, at the same time, you have your family and you have friends. You have a life and you have to give huge value to all of the things that give you the chance to say 'I am not fully dependant on F1'.

"How much of a weight on my mind is it that I don't have a contract for next year yet? Well, once you get into F1, you have to accept that it is a pretty unstable situation for most drivers. Maybe you have stability for the first three months - and the rest is a rollercoaster ride - but that is something that you get used to and you should not combine what is happening around you with your performance.

"There has been so much speculation about the team and its financial situation - and, all that, in combination with me having to learn the 'trade' of F1, was pretty tough. But it's also been positive for my development as a person and as a driver. This is what I appreciate most as it makes you stronger as a person. If you are able to change a situation from difficult to positive - and develop your skills along the way - that is pretty cool.

"The bottom line is that I have big goals in F1 and I want to achieve them. I believe that, with my race performances from Singapore onwards, I have proved that I have the level [of ability] to be in F1, so I am confident for my future. God will place things where they belong."