Sauber: Problem is rookies hardly drive F1 cars before they race them

Peter Sauber with Esteban Gutierrez

Peter Sauber with Esteban Gutierrez

Team boss Peter Sauber has played down suggestions that the Swiss team maybe considering ousting under-performing rookie Esteban Gutierrez and believes that times are tough for rookies coming into F1 as seat time is at a premium.

Having fielded Sergio Perez alongside Kamui Kobayashi last year, Sauber is running an all-new driver lineup in 2013. Peter Sauber, the Hinwil based team’s founder, said he is happy with Nico Hulkenberg.

“He has brought exactly what we expected him to,” he told the Swiss newspaper Blick. “He is not only quick but also consistent, and provides the engineers with valuable information.”

“It’s up to us now to give him a car to take regularly into Q3 and compete for top positions,” added Sauber.

In almost total contrast, Mexican Gutierrez is struggling so far in 2013.

The 21-year-old rookie has been not only off the pace but also getting caught up in incidents, triggering speculation Sauber might be looking at its options.

Esteban Gutierrez crashed out of the Chinese GP

Esteban Gutierrez crashed out of the Chinese GP

Blick named Japanese Kobayashi, Red Bull‘s Sebastien Buemi and Swiss GP2 driver Fabio Leimer as potential candidates.

Sauber said: “Esteban has had a difficult start, which has resulted in some critical reactions in the media. Of course we are not happy with his results so far, and neither is he. But after four races that doesn’t lead us to a discussion about the drivers.”

“Esteban has the full support of the team, so that he can turn his talent into results. We have not supported him for several years for nothing,” added the team boss.

Sauber said Gutierrez’s early struggle in 2013 is evidence of the difficulties facing new drivers breaking into Formula 1.

“The main problem is that they hardly drive a Formula 1 car before they have to race it,” said the 69-year-old.

“That’s why I like the idea that has been discussed for a while, with rookies getting an extra set of tyres on Friday morning, allowing them to do more laps. It won’t solve the problem completely, but it will help,” added Sauber. (GMM)

  • Morris

    Why not have a First year/reserve/Friday Race on Friday or Saturday afternoon? This would give these drivers real F1 seat RACE experience. The details about mechanical failures , damage repair , grid penalties, could be worked out. For the paying customer at the track this adds ticket value….I believe TV might be interested in the future stars of F1 also.

  • F1 Neutral

    It’s a good idea in principle but the teams would just exploit the race to test some new parts – they seem to get away with a lot of new parts even when they are doing a street demonstration in somewhere like Moscow.

    The drivers would also then have 2 races to deal with over the weekend. In somewhere like Monaco, where it is simply not possible to keep the streets closed from Friday-Sunday, it would be difficult. Also very costly for the teams.

    These drivers don’t lack race experience. Esteban has raced most circuits in GP2, just like Nico, Lewis etc. They just need more pre-season testing, but it’s virtually impossible to stop the teams from exploiting this to test out new parts for their number 1 driver.

  • Apex Assassin

    Next time sign a driver with ability, Sauber has no one to blame but themseleves.

  • Odd Lord


  • Odd Lord

    The real problem is not all what is spoken about..

    the real problem is the change for 2014.
    The new V6 turbo-engines are going to be the problem.

    The current prognoses for the new engine are :

    MAX : 620Bhp @ Max 12.000revs.

    the laptimes are expected to drop MORE then 5secs. (on an avarage track) this means, that the F1 will only be marginally faster then GP2 (if any faster at all, because probably the slowest teams will be slower then the fastest GP2’s) on top of that, F1 will no longer be the fastest racing-class. this title will be taken over by the LMP1’s (sportscar prototypes)

    the title “pinnacle of motorsport” was lost by F1 years ago, when they started whining about overtaking, no more proper defending etc. now the “pinnacle” is either LMP1 (for the sportscars) or GP2 (for one seat formula-cars)

    It is sad, but we all have to admit that F1 is on its way down only to be remembered by some old wrinkly guy’s jabbering about true hero’s as Senna, Prost, Moss, Fangio and others.

  • Butterfly

    Odd Lord:

    I read a couple of months ago that the max fuel rate is achieved at just 10.5K RPM. So the FIA allowing them 15K RPM to “sound good” is just the FIA giving the team the finger and doing it’s thing.

    You’re not going to hear 15K RPM engines around the tracks. No way.

  • Apex Assassin

    Right on Odd Lord!

  • Nemo

    @ Odd Lord, some of the drivers you speak about raced the same size engines you’re complaining about.
    Also, lets not forget the Kers & Ters systems with boosts of around 30sec per lap, instead of 6sec.
    The past belongs in the past. Now its all about max power with minimum fuel. more bang for your buck

  • Kimi4WDC

    This is part of the we all winners mentality, which should not be in F1, as it is for sure does not present even in Karting.

    All of the best drivers on the grid had an impact during their debut times to prove their worth.

    This problem just shows how much the level of the drivers have dropped – money is to blame to a certain extend.

    It baffles me, how the winners of various lower Formulae have to be content with test drive roles, while people who were beaten fair and square get to drive the Formula 1 car.

  • GPfanatics

    Spot on KimiWRC.
    Money is to blame. I don’t understand why Sauber let go of Kamui. He is one of the promising stars in F1. Esteban is clearly a talentless driver with the levels of Dornboos, Klien, Speed and a lot before and after. This guy would probably last max of 1yr. Bring back the Jap!!!