• GP Week

'I don't know if I'm ready yet'

Adam Hay-Nicholls November 30, 2012

The 2013 Sauber driver speaks to Adam Hay-Nicholls about his expectations for next year

Esteban Gutierrez will drive for Sauber next year © Sutton Images

Congratulations mate, you're going to be an F1 driver! When were you told of the team's decision?
The road to becoming a Formula One driver is a process, especially when it comes to negotiations with teams. This was a few weeks ago. There has always been a plan, from the moment I joined the team and it's helped me to develop myself. Making the announcement to the public is a new experience for me. It's pretty intense, but I'm keeping a cool head to look to the future in the best way. It's very special to be able to share this news.

Do you feel you're ready to step up?
To be honest I don't know if I'm ready yet. When I'm in the position of starting my first race next season I'm going to know if I'm ready or not. I feel, though, that I'm ready to make the next step in my career. I've done Formula BMW, GP3 and GP2. Now reaching Formula One is just the beginning of a new reality, and I'm very pleased about this and grateful to the team and also my family. It's very special for all of us.

Are you ready for the fame?
That's the biggest change between GP2 and Formula One. As I said, my evolution has been very progressive and it's going to be interesting to see how it is from the inside.

Mexican fans have watched Sergio Perez fight for podiums this season and sign for McLaren. Will there be high expectations for you to get results?
We have to approach things in a realistic way and I have to adapt to a new Formula as quickly as possible. I want to reach a certain solidness first of all, and one of the main goals is to be consistent and then progress for the future. Sauber has been doing very well these past couple of seasons and hopefully we can make the next step.

This season in GP2, in which you finished third, you had some highs and some lows. Do you think you'll make mistakes in your rookie F1 season too?
I'm totally aware how tough competition in F1 is. In GP2 I wasn't as consistent as I would have wished but I rate 2012 as the most rewarding season of my career, because you learn from these experiences. I'm going to aim for consistency in F1 and when I reach that I want to achieve top results, but it needs to be step-by-step.

Esteban Gutierrez has taken part in young driver tests and Friday practice sessions in preparation for his race seat in 2013 © Sutton Images

Have you talked to Nico Hulkenberg yet about your partnership next year, and how do you think you'll work together?
Nico is a very experienced driver and knowing he will be my team-mate means I will have a good reference. It's important for the team to have experience, and from my point of view as the rookie of course I'm going to push, to get as close to that reference as I can.

How important has Telmex been in making this deal happen?
There is always a package behind the driver. I have been with Sauber since 2010 and Telmex and other sponsors arrived with Checo [Perez] in 2011. It's coming together. Teams need money in order to build and develop their cars, so it comes hand-in-hand. Sponsors are very important, not just economically but in terms of support. Carlos Slim Jr, the boss of Telmex, is also passionate about racing. That's the best support you can have. I'd like to mention as well that the main credit should go to my family. It's been a family project requiring a lot of effort from all my brothers, my sister, and especially my parents. My father was the one who made the initial investments in my career, and without him I wouldn't be here.