Esteban Gutierrez's truncated Australian Grand Prix not only made for a short return to the top flight for the young Mexican, but further limited his ability to get to know his new ride.
Having taken a year out from racing to act as Ferrari reserve in the hope of landing a seat at the new Haas F1 operation, Gutierrez had only four days of pre-season testing to get to know the VF-16, and his development was further compounded by wet conditions early in the Melbourne weekend. With only 16 additional laps in the race, the former Sauber protégé is naturally hoping for some typical desert conditions in Bahrain next weekend.
“It will be very positive, because we can finally work and experiment a little bit with the car and its set-up," he confirmed, "Unfortunately, we have not been able to do that.
"It's quite impressive that, even though we have not been able to experiment a lot, we have a very good baseline, so I'm really looking forward to get to know more of the car, to experiment more and really work on the best direction for our set-up. Bahrain will help us a lot to get more consistent running, more laps in practice and, hopefully, a smooth weekend.”
Gutierrez suffered no ill-effects from his coming together with McLaren's Fernando Alonso at Albert Park - with the veteran Spaniard accepting blame for what turned into a spectacular accident - and was full of praise for what the Haas team achieved on its debut.
“As a whole experience, it was a positive weekend, apart from the unfortunate incident we had during the race," he noted, "We did a very good job as a team.
"Obviously, scoring points leaves a lot of confidence for the whole team, but still we have plenty of work to do. I think, in general, we can go to Bahrain making our next step forward as a team. In both organisation and communication, there has not been much time for the team to breathe because of the hard work in building the car and testing in Barcelona and then the first grand prix. Hopefully, we can consolidate things and get everything done and try to make the best of our potential.”