Esteban Gutierrez believes that his previous F1 foray with Sauber will help him make the most of the second opportunity granted by the new Haas team.
The Mexican was barely out of his teens when he made his debut for Sauber at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, but raced for the Swiss outfit for two years before being dropped after a single points-scoring finish in 38 attempts. He then spent the 2015 campaign as part of Ferrari's back-up team, leading to the chance to work with the Scuderia's latest customer as Haas finally made its F1 bow this year.
Although his luck showed no signs of changing in the first two rounds of 2016 - being collateral damage in Fernando Alonso's Melbourne accident and succumbing to brake issues in Bahrain - Gutierrez feels that his grand prix experience so far will stand him in good stead for the future.
"It was not an easy situation at Sauber, in fact it was very different," he reflected, "I had a lot of lessons, and I had very strong team-mates, but at certain points I was able to be quicker than them, so I had my reference, I knew which direction I needed to work and I've worked very hard for it.
"The car in 2014 just didn't have the pace, the car was not there, so I feel that now I need to take a bit of pressure out of myself and just get on with the work and the weekends and it will come because the pace is
there and the rhythm is
there [with the Haas].”
Team-mate Romain Grosjean's results underline the potential of the US-run VF-16, and Gutierrez knows that he just needs the right breaks to join the Frenchman as a points contender. He qualified just outside the top ten in Bahrain, and is optimistic that his efforts will soon be reflected on the time and result sheets.
“I've prepared myself as much as I could," he insisted, "I've put a lot of pressure on myself to improve my level and not think about the others but myself. I feel very confident, I feel very prepared. It was very frustrating in Melbourne not to say 'okay, I want the result on paper' because I know I'm quick, I know that the pace was there and the rhythm was there in the race, but then all I want is my result just stood there on the paper.
"But we have plenty of races in the future and, if we have a good pace and I have a good pace and I'm able to drive the car properly and be quick, the result will come sooner or later. I'm confident.
“To be honest the car is not far away from where I would want it to be. The balance was not that bad, obviously there are some edges that you can push a bit more on the edge and be aggressive in terms of set up-wise. But there are things that we are going to explore in the following events. Let's see how better it will be.”