• Exclusive Esteban Gutierrez interview

An unexpected bonus

Chris Medland October 26, 2012

ESPNF1 speaks exclusively with Esteban Gutierrez in India following his maiden FP1 appearance for Sauber on Friday

Esteban Gutierrez ended his first practice session in 20th place © Sutton Images
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How was today for you; when did you find out you were going to be driving the car?

Well in the morning I received the confirmation and it was definitely a surprise. But I think the whole experience was very positive, because for my experience, my development it's important for me to have taken part in an official Formula One event. It was a very special experience. I tried to progressively improve and progressively feel the car in different situations and it was very nice.

It's a difficult track to learn on though, very slippery in FP1…

Yes it was very tricky on that side. It was very slippery, the car had a bit of oversteer. Generally when you drive the car and you have an oversteering car - especially a car that I don't usually drive - it's very hard to predict in the beginning. This is something that will come up getting some more laps, and I'm really looking forward to what's coming next.

You've got the Young Driver Test coming up next week; are there any other opportunities for you to get in the car that the team have said?

Well for now in Abu Dhabi the Young Driver Test will be great because driving here in India and then driving again in Abu Dhabi; it's always important to have a continuous spell driving and this really will help me a lot to improve and to get adapted to Formula One.

Has the team said anything to you about next season yet? Any hints or any targets maybe?

Well we are in the process. Of course my goal is to race with Sauber next year, so let's hope that this will be consolidated soon either with Sauber or with other opportunities that we can have.

Are you speaking to any other teams?

Not necessarily, but we are of course open and there are other opportunities that can be established. But for now we are looking in to Sauber and hopefully we can settle it soon.

And after FP1 you feel you are ready for a Formula One race seat now?

I can't say I'm fully ready because I have not been driving a full weekend yet, but definitely today was a nice feeling to be part of a Formula One event. This whole experience and atmosphere is different from the Young Driver Test because you don't have the people around, it's more like a proper Formula One weekend. Definitely it was something very positive, so after three years of being involved with the team and also my experience in GP2 and everything I feel ready to do the next step.

Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1

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Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1 Chris Medland, who in his youth even found the Pacific GPs entertaining, talked his way in to work at the British Grand Prix and was somehow retained for three years. He also worked on the BBC's F1 output prior to becoming assistant editor ahead of the 2011 season