Esteban Gutierrez may not know where he will be racing next season, but says that that is not his focus right now as he continues to look for his first points on 2016.
The Mexican, who returned to a race seat this year after signing with the fledgling Haas outfit, remains coy about his plans for 2017, but knows that a strong finish to the current campaign would enhance his chances of remaining in the top flight as much as any sponsorship package he can bring.
With nine races remaining on the slate, but fewer than that before the annual 'silly season' is likely to ramp up, Gutierrez insists that he is hoping for imminently better fortune than he experienced in the first half of the year.
“To be honest, it's irrelevant for me to think about next year because what I want to achieve is points and good results with what I have at the moment,” he said of the Haas-Ferrari package, “I think a lot of things have played around in the wrong way for me so I am not frustrated or worried thinking about . I am working hard to get the points [this year] - that's my goal and the rest at the moment is irrelevant.”
While Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean sits twelfth in the drivers' standings – ahead of both McLaren drivers and former Red Bull pilot Daniil Kvyat – with all 28 of the Haas team's points, Gutierrez has yet to better eleventh place in any race, a feat he has endured in a third of the twelve rounds held so far. Where Grosjean scored top six finishes, and headlines, in the opening two races, Gutierrez posted DNFs and his season has proved just as frustrating since then.
“We all know that the most difficult part in racing is to be quick, [but] I think that my pace as a driver has improved pretty well, probably better than expected after one year off,” he noted, “The pace of the car is there as well but what has taken away from the points, or let's say for me more than the other car, is mechanical failures, strategy failures, things that are basic.
“I'm not saying that it is only on one side because it has happened on both sides, and the other car has not scored in every race, and probably only in races where there was the chance, but, as a team we need to focus on minimising and solving those basic things and doing a normal weekend without problems, without failures.
“A normal weekend for me would be one with points. This is not going to be normal until then. Every time I don't score the points, I have to say 'okay there is something wrong, what can we do to be there in the points' but, sometimes, we are P11 and P13 doing a normal job and not trying to do something extraordinary.
“We have the pace to be there, that's the simple thing and I focus on that. I would be frustrated and worried if I knew I didn't have the pace and the capacity to do it, but fortunately I have and the pace of the car is good. The team has done a great job, and it has shown the points that it has scored so far.”