Esteban Gutierrez is determined to remain on the F1 grid in 2015, particularly with a home race in Mexico slated to join the existing tour.
Gutierrez, who has been a member of the Sauber (and BMW Sauber) squad since it took him under its wing in 2009, revealed that he is already in talks about a contract extension, but admits that there are a lot of pieces that need to be fitted to the 'silly season' jigsaw before his future becomes clearer.
“[The 2015 deal] is something that is being negotiated at the moment, but I have also had contact with some other teams,” he confirmed, “We re just having to see what is going on in the market before people can make decisions and, then, for us to make a decision as well. It all depends on what the top [of the grid] is doing.
“I'm confident I will be here [for a home GP] – I'm really looking forward to that experience – and, at the very least, I am going to fight to the end.
“I know what my capabilities are, I know what my potential is and I know that the team knows. Right now, it is working on delivering [a better car], but that is not being shown to the people outside [the team].”
Still pointless in 2014, Gutierrez admits that the season has been a frustrating one, but insists that he is developing as a driver and has not yet given up on opening his account.
“[Not finishing] causes a little bit of frustration and adds to the pressure, but it's on my side to handle it and, thankfully, I think I can handle it pretty well,” he reflected, “I'll be going through like that, doing the best I can, fighting to the last race to achieve what we want to achieve.”
Sauber has been unfortunate on more than one occasion in 2014, seeing possible points finishes go begging even when cars ahead of them have found themselves sidelined. With Suzuka providing a stern test of a drivers' ability this weekend, Gutierrez will be on the look-out for the chance of a top ten finish to help separate Sauber from Caterham at the foot of the constructors' table.
“I think that, if there's trouble in the race, then there are always opportunities [to score],” he noted, “One of the main things is not to be one of those troubles because it seems that, in every opportunity we got since the second half of the season, we've been the ones having problems with mechanical issues, so...
“Hopefully, those things are going to be fixed from now on. It was quite critical after Singapore, but that should be sorted out. In terms of the track [at Suzuka], it is not so much on our side, but I believe that the mechanical side of the car is quite good even if not so much the aerodynamics! Here, we have long straights, so it is not on our side, but there can still be opportunities in the race, which we have to be sure to take.”