Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Singapore, 2013

Gutierrez: Late-season form shows I belong in F1

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Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Singapore, 2013In the round-up: Esteban Gutierrez says the form he showed in the last seven races of 2013 shows he deserves to stay in F1.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Rookie diary – Sauber?s Esteban Gutierrez (F1)

“The bottom line is that I have big goals in F1 and I want to achieve them. I believe that with my race performances from Singapore onwards I have proved that I have the level to be in Formula One. So I am confident for my future. God will place things where they belong.”

Hamilton: I failed to deliver in 2013 (ESPN)

“The only real positive is the team’s performance this year. That’s huge and nobody expected that. I couldn’t have hoped for better or for more from then but I feel like I should have done more.”

McLaren will have ‘no excuses’ in 2014 (Autosport)

Martin Whitmarsh: “What I know in terms of level of resource and type of organisation, I think they will have done a competent job and have applied the level of resources you would want on it. I suspect we will be competitive.”

Hulkenberg set for Force India after Sauber turns him down (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“Despite his good performance on track he has apparently fallen out of favour off it, presumably by not only agreeing the deal with Force India, but also paying a visit to Lotus prior to the US GP, which included a seat fitting.”

The manifesto without fanfare (Joe Saward)

“Todt and his team argue that the media (and therefore the public) does not have a vote in the election and so their views do not matter.”

Mark?s mates mate (well, most of ’em…) (Peter Windsor)

[Webber on Flavio Briatore] “I was disappointed about Singapore ??08 and how that was played out but I can only take on what he?s done with me and he?s always been straight up and down and extremely consistent.”


Comment of the day

Interesting background on Luca di Montezemolo’s recent comments about Ferrari’s political clout:

There have been quite a few complaints recently here in Italy. The Italian journalists complained that Massa received a penalty in Brazil and Vettel and Webber didn?t. Some commentators said that that?s because Red Bull has now more political power than Ferrari.

Same for the tyre change after Silverstone, Italian journalists are saying that Pirelli changed tyres because Red Bull complained and they have so much power in F1 that Pirelli obeyed (of course, that?s not what happened, but who cares).

I think Montezemolo wanted to reassure the Tifosi that they still have an unfair advantage over the other teams!

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Two-time F1 entrant Joe Kelly passed away 20 years ago today. He qualified 19th for the first ever F1 race at Silverstone in 1950 but did not take the start in his Alta, nor did he in similar circumstances 12 months later.

Image ?? Sauber

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Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 115 comments on “Gutierrez: Late-season form shows I belong in F1”

    1. Of course he’ll say he belongs in F1, but I disagree. He’s simply not one of the best 22 drivers in the world in my opinion.

      On a sidenote, he has to be one of the least charismatic drivers the world of Formula 1 ever saw, seriously… Di Resta is as charismatic as Robbie Williams compared to Guiterrez….

      1. Agree. He has some talent, but without money he would be out as fast as possible.
        Many many drivers on the market that are much better.

      2. He’s simply not one of the best 22 drivers in the world in my opinion.

        He might not be one of the top 22, but he’s better than some of the other drivers on the grid – Chilton, van der Garde, Pic, Maldonado, and co. At the very least, he probably fits into the category of drivers you could reasonably consider if one of the top 22 drivers was unable to get into Formula 1 due to circumstances beyond their control.

        1. He at least has junior titles (2008 F. BMW Europe & 2010 GP3 Series), which places him better than Pic and Chilton, but Pic occasionally shows some good pace. Pic could probably have won a junior title if he had not always moved up the ladder one year early from title domination. He has a good few top 3/5s in the junior ladder at each level. We can surmise Gutierrez would do better in an era with more testing (who wouldn’t of course), and he is still only 21/22 this year. Basically the rookies’ end of season pace is now what guys like Hamilton and before all started the season with (before the testing ban they could do almost a season of testing before the first few races). So Bottas, VDG, Gutierrez are all now showing their real pace.

          Chilton has a lucky top 5 in GP2 last year as he only real achievement on the junior ladder (along with a British closed car entry series category at age 14/15). He’s the only real pay-driver left in F1 and it shows – after getting closer to Bianchi, who maybe let the ball drop a bit with his lack of running in FP1s for Gonzalez (the other big pay-driver in F1 currently), maybe down to a few tenths, the gap is now firmly back up to 1 second as we approach complex tracks (like COTA). Chilton is definitely someone who would need adequate prep in every series coming up the ladder, but who’s not to say he could be competitive in another few years to get comfortable with F1. In the past, he would probably have been testing for a good year or two behind closed doors before making his debut somewhat nearer to being on pace.

        2. In what possible way is Charles Pic worse than Gutierrez, by saying Pic is worse than Gutierrez you’re also saying Gutierrez is better than Bianchi. Here are some simple statistics, these are the average finishing positions for the backmarkers:
          Charles Pic: 16.8
          Giedo van der Garde: 17.2
          Jules Bianchi: 17.1
          Max Chilton: 18.2
          The only reason Pic is underated is because he is a real driver, just gets on with the job, he’s the best backmarker in my view, but commentators praise Chilton because he’s British, Bianchi got praise for destroying his mediocre team mate and van der Garde gets a lot of attention because he gets into the most accidents, Pic on the other hand gets no notice because he doesn’t get involved in accidents and the media don’t overrate him like other drivers e.g. Ricciardo, Chilton, Bianchi.

          1. @speedking84 Pic has been outpaced by VdG from the halfway point onwards, outpaced by a rookie, if it weren’t for the crashes VdG would have averaged a better than 17.2, bottom line rookies have excuses Pic has airbus.

            1. @peartree Ok since the 9th race, Pic finished ahead in Germany, Monza, Korea, Suzuka (van der Garde had a first lap crash), India (van der Garde had a first lap crash) so 5 races. van der Garde finished ahead in Hungary (Pic was on a 2 stop, VDG was on a 3 stop), Belgium(Pic had a hydraulic failure), Singapore, Abu Dhabi (Pic had understeer issue), USA (Pic had understeer issue), Brazil (Pic was 26 seconds ahead of VDG and had suspension failure) so 6 races. I’ll agree with you that on paper van der Garde has outpaced Pic in the second half of the season but different factors come into it, van der Garde said he prefered the new tyres as they suit his driving style, they didn’t seem to suit Pic as he has a smoother driving style, also Pic had set up issues, and van der Garde really started to improve in the second half of the season, but I think van der Garde’s improvement has appeared to be more than it is, due to Pic’s issues. Also I have to say in the last race Pic was in prime position if rain came, he was leading the backmarkers by 26 seconds, if it had rained he may have got the 13th place required, Pic came very close in the season to getting the 13th, he got 14th in Malaysia, 14th in Korea and was likely to get 14th in Monaco as Chilton got 14th and Pic was about 6 positions ahead of Chilton on the 1st lap, unfortunately Pic had a gearbox seizure on the 2nd lap if i’m correct. On a final note, I don’t understand your reference to Airbus, implying Pic is only in Caterham because of sponsorship money, I’ll give you a simple fact to end my reply, it took van der Garde 5 seasons to get a best of 5th in GP2 and it took Pic 2 seasons to get a best of 4th in GP2.

      3. Gutierrez: Late-season form shows I belong in F1

        No, it doesn’t. I agree with you guys.

        1. @peartree

          Just like Gutierrez, I belong to f1.


          1. @jcost Yes, in the go-kart series Mario.

            1. @peartree in Mario Kart I’m second to none :)

            2. @jcost Well guess Esteban is no one.

            3. I laughed so hard when you posted that comment @peartree. Well he does belong in go-karts.

      4. @roald

        He’s simply not one of the best 22 drivers in the world

        I agree, which is strange, because he should be. Esteban “the chosen one” Gutierrez won the GP3 championship with ease in 2010, humiliating excellent drivers like Antonio Felix Da Costa, Robert Wickens and Alexander Rossi. But the very fact that he failed to win the GP2 championship in 2012 where the grid was woefully untalented, suggested that he was having issues getting to grips with higher powered machinery. And the very fact that Martin Brundle conveys an audibly detectable wince every we go onboard with Gutierrez, before saying, “Too much throttle, son” rather suggests that throttle modulation isn’t his greatest skill. I have met Gutierrez on two occasions now, and he’s a lovely chap, but is he F1 material? No.

        1. *Esteban “the chosen one” Gutierrez is not me talking, it was just how he was regarded in junior categories

        2. Agreed, but his records show he is generally a second season driver, so perhaps as you say after taking 2-3 years to get fully comfortable with higher powered machinery, we may start to see some good runs from Esteban. What he needs now is racecraft (and less silly Q penalties), and some luck. Look at Korea – he was ahead of Hulkenberg on merit until T3 where he was stuck in the Massa incident, where Hulk with his experience floored it around the outside and overtook (also 2-3 cars on the straight leading to it, including Esteban!). In Austin he was Q3 on merit, and in Brazil his pace wasn’t that far off Hulkenberg. So, I think next year he will mature and (along with Bottas, given decent machinery) score a good few points finishes and challenge a more experienced team mate (be it Sutil or Bianchi – Bottas could beat Massa you know).

          Interesting how the Mexicans come along in twos: the Rodriguez brothers, Perez and Gutierrez (the almost brothers! Including hand me down F1 seats! Granted Gutierrez was there first, a bit like Ricardo Rodriguez. Such a shame he died so young, a bit like Alguersuari never to drive and thrive again, with questions of potential unfulfilled at a top team’s junior squad left unabated for both)

      5. I’ve said it here before, I think Monisha should call Antonio Felix da Costa and give the Portuguese a shot.

        Feeding series have a good amount of talent, too bad the availability of seats and the emergence of the pay driver is keeping some of this talent away from the “circus”.

      6. to be honest, I didn’t really like the idea that Gutierrez takes away places from drivers that deserve it more. anyways, sponsorship money does the talk in case the driver itself didn’t prove anything yet and has no reputation, especially in nowadays economy. I believe that F1 needs rookies, and until they don’t get a chance, nobody knows if they worthy. but rookies are in very difficult situation compared to the pre-2009 era, when you could spend basically the whole fortnight between to grand prix weekends on a test track polishing the car and the drivers skills. with all the races, the qualifications, the free practices and the pre- and in-season testings a driver covers, let’s say, about 10 000 km until the end of the season. rookies until 2009 covered this distance multiple times before even entering their first grand prix.

        rookies nowadays have a very hard learning curve. let’s just take a look at Grosjean, who tasted F1 back in 2009, but could have been considered almost as a rookie last year when he returned, and even with a top car, he needed one and a half season to reach a comfortable level of experience, reducing his error proneness. or there is Hülkenberg, a future champion material, he was able to deliver solid performances only at the end of his second season.

        so Gutierrez as a rookie in 2013, with very limited testing opportunities, with a sub-optimal car that was way off the last years Sauber, and against a rising star must have looked very weak, usually falling out in Q1, and suffering during the races. after the summer break, when the team have suddenly found themselves closer to the top teams, Gutierrez was able to show some speed, as the car was easier to handle, not for his more experiences teammate, but even for himself. as the car reacted better, he became more self-confident, and was able to narrow the gap to Hülkenberg, even visited Q3, improved his racepace, and scored some points.

        overall, it looked that Gutierrez lags tremendously behind Hülkenberg, and the pointtable proves this. I might have not signed him for this year (okay, because of the Telmex moneyI probably must have), but he looks now a bit more promising for next year. I obviously would welcome other drivers instead of him in Sauber, but now he is an alternative for sure. we don’t know anything about Saubers next years lineup, but it won’t be easy to keep his seat. maybe the team has to make way to Sirotkin to ensure the financial backing, and an absolute rookie shouldn’t be paired with a 1-season driver (okay, we have seen that it worked for Sauber in 2001, anyway…), so Sutil with his experience and the Medion backing, or Maldonado with his PDVSA money can land in Hinwill easily.

        so late-season form didn’t show that he belongs to F1, yet. it only showed that Sauber gained a lot from the summer-updates and the new Pirelly tyres. however, I would give him another shot to prove he belongs to F1

      7. @roald I really hate when someone says that F1 has 22 best drivers in the world. 8-10 maybe..

        1. True. 22 very talented drivers, but the best in the world are much fewer. Saying “the best driver” is flawed in itself, i.e. Vettel is currently the best F1 driver, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be the best endurance racer or rally driver. In my mind, Loeb is the best driver in the world, since he has 9 consecutive WRC titles. Hell, at times, Taki Inoue is one of the best drivers in the world because his tweets are fantastic! He might be rubbish at actually racing, but he’s the best driver in the world (at tweeting) (sometimes).

          One always hopes F1 is filled with the best single-seater pilots in the world, but circumstances don’t really allow for that…

      8. I saw Adrian Sutil’s girlfriend talking to Monisha at Brazil via Ted’s Notebook on Sky Sports F1. I feel Esteban is leaving F1 after a year outing and there is rumours going on that a GP2 driver will be in a Sauber next year

    2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      28th November 2013, 0:33

      “God will place things where they belong.”

      Ta-Ra then Esteban!

    3. Didn’t we learn of a Bahrain twilight race for next year some months ago?

        1. But I think it was near the Singapore round or even Belgium. Bahrain should start the race half an hour or an hour later instead of starting at 5pm local, as it will test the drivers.

          1. It has today been confirmed as a night race, after testing the pictured floodlights at the WEC event. I read it was going to be a twilight race before, but I can’t remember where.

            1. So Bahrain will be the start of the 2014 F1 season. You mean here

    4. I honestly think Whitmarsh shouldn’t be talking up next year. With the P1 hypercar launching soon and the rumors of a baby 12C still somewhat strong, it seems that McLaren has been having to split their resources. I feel like the loss of Mercedes factory support is really apparent now as well, what with all the talk of budgets this year. Really 2015 is going to be the year McLaren will need to prove them selves. They’ll have full Honda backing and Magnussen will have already had a full year to acquaint himself to F1. Unless the Honda engine is crap, then there will be no more excuses.

      1. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
        28th November 2013, 0:47

        Whitmarsh is likely talking up 2014 because he won’t be coming back for 2015 if they perform like they did this year.

        1. Huh. I guess I forgot about that rumor.

        2. They don’t have unlimited money, and McLaren been serious about the P1 beating the LaFerrari around the track. Even thought the two divisions are completely separate, I can’t imagine McLaren didn’t have to use some of their F1 money for the project.

        3. Yeah…if the have another 2013 next year..I quite fancy Ross Brawn in for 2015, if he doesnt gte a job in the meantime though.

          1. Looks like Ross is leaving at the end of the year (Ref Autosport). Looking forward to see where he ends up!!

            My pick: Williams as team principle. Probably including a share swap with Toto perhaps?

        4. If McLaren go the way of a football team (“It’s all going wrong – sack the manager”) then they will never get back to the top.

      2. @somethingwittyer Their road car business is a completely separate entity.

        1. @somethingwittyer beejis60 is right, for instances McLaren never ever used Mercedes engines in their road cars.

        2. They don’t have unlimited money, and McLaren been serious about the P1 beating the LaFerrari around the track. Even thought the two divisions are completely separate, I can’t imagine McLaren didn’t have to use some money from their F1 division for the project.

          1. I suspect that you would be wrong. F1 is a difficult enough business that a team wouldn’t be foolish enough to give up part of their budget.

          2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
            28th November 2013, 4:27

            That $100m ‘spygate’ fine must have been a factor in the team’s relative downfall since 2008.

      3. Their road car ventures will have literally no bearing (besides strengthening their brand, so very possibly helping attract sponsors).

    5. I really enjoyed the Mark Webber article on his views regarding all the crucial people who impacted his career. Fantastic stuff.

      1. The comment about Helmut Marko is the best: “I still don’t really know his role in the team, so….yeah….”

    6. Great piece from Peter Windsor on Webber.

      I do hope Mark will write a book one day about his experiences and opinions. I think it would be a fascinating read.

      1. He did. Though you could never get it england anywhere.

      2. @pault He did write a biography after the 2010 season but it was only published in Australia. I’ve not read it, but it was in there he revealed he had injured his shoulder before the last few races that year.

        1. @keithcollantine Thanks, I found it on Google – “Up Front (2010 – A Season to Remember)”. If anyone’s interested, it’s available here:

        2. It’s in the pipeline for 2014.

    7. I’m not all that surprised about Sauber turning Nico Hulkenburg down. Sure, the guy is a talent, but he has been eager to hop from one team to another every time he gets a chance. It would be more understandable if all his transfers were to move forward, but he just going from mid-tier team to mid-tier team. A team like Sauber would prefer a driver who is ready to move the team forward, and for that you need more than one year.
      I understand drivers are out there to make a name for themselves, but after a while loyalty will become a concern. Nico is not doing himself any favors with this approach either. Every season he shows up unfamiliar with a car, hampering his ability to rack up points.

      1. Indeed.. he will have done 4 seasons in 4 teams now..

      2. I’m pretty sure he started to look for another team because Sauber signed a Russian to have a drive next year and out of him a Gutierrez he didn’t bring any money, I’d of started to look at other teams too.

        1. I believe that had he shown desire to remain in the team then he would most likely have gotten a seat. I believe Kaltenborn has even said something along those lines.

          1. Did Kaltenborn said anything about who is responsible for a screw up, the first part of the season turned out to be?

            I wish Kaltenborn well, but she is in a wrong industry. No talk about sustainable business will convince me. When she starts to work at least half as hard to get sponsorship as engineers do at their work then she might stop being a hypocrite and go after easy money and than asking FIA do drag down all other team to her level.

      3. He hasn’t been “

        he has been eager to hop from one team to another every time he gets a chance

        at all, @dpod.

        At Williams they dropped him because they wanted / needed Maldonado with the backing he brought, not much he could do about it, but find that 3rd driver role at FI. FI still owes him his salary for 2012, that was the reason why he left the team (see the articles claiming that part of the deal to sign with them was a bank guarantee for that outstanding salary).
        Sauber haven’t payed him either, until he had a seat fitting at Enstone, and then the money is said to have arrived directly from Maranello (to avoid having him help Lotus better Ferrari to 3rd).

        Off course Sauber has been looking a bleak prospect during this year, and Hulk tried to get into a better car (what driver wouldn’t?). But as it now seems more and more likely that Lotus does not have money either, and needs Maldonado/PDSVA, that road was closed to him.

        I am sure that Sauber would have liked him to patiently wait. But on the other hand, remember 2 months back it was alsmost “sure” that Sauber would be having Sirotkin and Guttierez (the first solely because of the russian money supposed to be coming, the second for both a bit of stability and the Mexican cash.), so even if he had wanted to stay at that point, it was looking quite unsure that the team would be able to offer him anything.

        1. @basCB Excellent comment. You’ve said it all, so I don’t have to!

        2. Thanks for setting the record straight @bascb
          It still amazes me how some people are so clueless about a drivers history.

          And frankly @dpod it’s Sauber’s loss because Hulk beat Sutil, di Resta and Perez in a weaker car. Let’s put it this way, even from my armchair I can see that Sauber without Hulk is likely to get worse. And that’s exactly why FI want him back. McLaren not even approaching NH saddens me because I think he’d be perfect there? And Ferrari not going for young drivers and taking any risks is getting old – really old.

      4. A team like Sauber would prefer a driver who is ready to move the team forward

        Sauber has gone the pay driver way and Nico has to study his chances. I don’t think Sauber is looking for a driver to move them forward. They sacked Kamui and hired Gutierrez to drop im after one year, the exact same year their Mexican sponsor leaves Sauber… now they have a Russian teenager under contract and are yet to decide whether to give him the drive in 2014 or 2015…

        Sure Nico has moved a lot, but maybe in a more stable team he will be willing to stay. Nico’s best chance was to land the Ferrari seat, he missed on that one and failed to get the Lotus drive because Pastor has more money, then he could well be paired with Button but McLaren decided against this route and gave the drive to their gifted Dan boy…

    8. About what yobo said, he is right, Red Bull has the political power these days, and the recent chances in the FIA will only allow more of this, on the other side who is Ferrari to talk about influence, their group dominated F1 in the early 2000’s.

    9. If Ferrari still has political power why didn’t they veto the new engine like Bernie suggested?
      What is scary is how much Red Bull’s influence in F1 has grown in the past 5-6 years, back then they were nothing more than a midfield team.

      1. A new engine and it being more relevant to how well the car does plays into Ferrari’s hands, as they have always been good with engines and worse with aerodynamics. The problem for them now is that Renault and Honda were also top engines in the Turbo era (like Ferrari), and Mercedes are going hell for leather to be in with a chance at the 2014 WDC/WCC, or at least challenge Red Bull as the best German team.

        It has to be said that behind these 3, McLaren must be aiming for 4th place next year, before trying to crack the top 3 again with Honda in 2015. It’s unlikely McLaren will have the car to beat Mercedes in 2014, given they built their car directly on the new engine, while McLaren will have gotten told later what the engine final spec looks like..

        1. “or at least challenge Red Bull as the best German team.”
          Red Bull is Austrian

    10. Sorry Gutierrez, while you are not as bad as Chilton, you are not good enough for Formula 1. I sure hope this new standard for driver quality will change soon.

    11. I said this in the forum, Hamilton showed flashes of regaining his old form but he also had some lows this season. I often get the feeling that if he just stopped giving himself such a hard time when it doesn’t go his way he’d be in a better headspace more of the time. I don’t know how he can do it, yo-yo-ing from massive high to massive low seemingly by the session, it has to wear him out. He should see 2013 as a largely positive year and keep his chin up, because he joined Mercedes expecting to to be struggling to score points and podiums and he is now disappointed having “only” scored 1 win and 5 poles.

      1. I guess he has a big winning mentality.
        But indeed he shouldn’t be so down.

        It could have been 3victories for him and 0 for Rosberg for some luck.
        He should have been the one winning in Silverstone (blown tyre).
        If he had done just a bit of a better lap at Monaco he would have won that one too.

        After the tyre change, nobody could touch Redbull and mercedes had a big set back.
        People are know feeling Rosberg got the upper hand in the end, but I’m not so sure.
        Just because the latter races swung his way.. but don’t forget Hamilton upped his game compared to Rosberg once they gave him a new chassis.

        I really hope Mercedes bring a great car next year so Hamilton can get his 2nd title in!

    12. Mark Webber’s take on Helmut Marko is pretty scathing, they don’t see eye to eye and as Webber says Marko was very critical of him from the get go, so that probably colours it a bit. But for someone who has been with RBR for so long to say that he still doesn’t know exactly what he does in the team is interesting indeed.

      1. To be honest, his role IS unclear (does he have any “job title” apart from being displayed as “Red Bull Consultant”?) @geemac.
        But yeah those comments were pretty tough, although RBR is (again) doing themselves more damage by removing them from their own pages than if they would just let it go.

        1. Yeah, it’s noteworthy I think because Marko is supposed to hold so much influence in the team. If he does, what exactly is he meant to do? Surely he should have a clearer title than “consultant”.

    13. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      28th November 2013, 7:21

      Find it odd that a lot of people are criticizing Nico Hulkenberg about all the seat-hopping, specifically about him shopping around this year. Did everyone forget that Sauber paid him NOTHING? And the only reason he got his pay for this year was because Ferrari wanted to prevent him from jumping to Lotus for the remaining two races of the season?

      I also found this article interesting. Apparently Force India had trouble paying Nico in 2012 (not sure if it was everything or just some payments).

      Hard to criticize the guy for moving on from an employer who can’t pay him. Hell, we ALL know that everyone of us would ultimately leave a company if they weren’t paying us.


      1. People also forget that he was let go by Williams because of the incoming PDVSA money, he didn’t leave of his own accord.

      2. Nico Hulkenberg – the only unpaid driver on a grid full of paid drivers.

        1. opps, forgot about Kimi for a second there….

          1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
            28th November 2013, 9:37

            Kimi switched teams and actually stopped racing because he wasn’t getting paid. The parallels are there for the taking.

      3. If he signs for Force India for 2014, they’ve agreed in the contract to finally pay him for 2012! $1.9m.. considering has his 2012 salary listed as £1m, could we speculate that they didn’t pay him for 2011 as 3rd driver either? :O

        1. Perhaps he charges high interest rates.

      4. Definitely 2, and possibly almost 3 years without no pay, certainly puts that time of no wage rises into context! In that time, he’s almost won a race (barring a debris safety car), been booted out of a seat after taking a pole position, for a driver with money he comprehensively beat the year before, been courted by Ferrari and then dropped from negotiations by text…

    14. Kartingsuperior
      28th November 2013, 7:29

      I know Esteban, his family is one of the richest families in town, many friends of mine that are very talented competed in karting with him and they beat him every season in every race in local and national categories. He is in F1 now because his dad could arrange a multy-million dollar agreement with “Scuderia Telmex” which is Telmex’s driver program that are mainly pay drivers. As long as the dollars keep flowing he will stay there.

    15. 2013 has been a bad year for Hamilton fans. Not so much in that he scored only one win, and just five podiums, but because he completely dispelled the idea that he can get 100% out of any car with any balance 100% of the time with his struggles to get a grasp on W04. There have been glimpses of the “old” Hamilton, most notably on Saturday at Silverstone; a graphic illustration of just how unreachable a comfortable Hamilton is, but most of the time he has been struggling to extract the performance from a quick car, a statement unheard of with regards to Lewis. There have been several culprits, whether it be the brakes or the balance or the seating position, or Satan itself, the Pirelli P-Zero, and all of these excuses are completely genuine, but I think Hamilton has suffered by not being part of the development of the car as he was for each of his McLarens. It was not a car built for Hamilton and his driving style, and it seems that that was the main reason Rosberg, who would have easily exceeded Lewis’ points tally had he not had so much bad luck, so comprehensively beat Hamilton. However, that of course will not be an issue next year, because the Mercedes technical team, with all their degrees and PhDs should have realized that same thing this incredibly middle-aged man has realized with his laptop; operation “Hamilton appeasement” should be #1 priority, because, fear not Hamilton fans, he is still a name on the increasingly short list of people who can hold a candle to Vettel, and he is still the fastest man in the world and he is a very good bet for the 2014 champion.

      1. @william-brierty A mix of bad luck but also frequent poor driving from both drivers explain their score. The car was better than the drivers IMO. It had to be the very lineup of this season but they failed to impress me most of the time, despite securing 2nd in WCC. They have to raise their game on sundays.

        1. It has to be said Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus all lost points on Sunday to RB from operational errors, so this is another field where RB have the competition beaten (not only the fastest car).

          1. @fastiesty – That has been the case for the past three seasons, although Ferrari were pretty spotless in that department in 2012. McLaren by comparison don’t know what it means to be operationally sound.

            1. @william-brierty True, Ferrari kept themselves in the hunt there in 2012 with Alonso, while their aero department gave the game away (lets hope the wind-tunnel is finally fixed! McLaren, by contrast, almost look like they dare themselves in how to lose rather than win at some points. But they always seem to have a down period when the group is concentrating on making sports cars as well.

        2. @spoutnik – That is a bit too harsh. The W04 was probably the most frustrating car of 2013, because when it was dialed in it was a genuine Red Bull challenger, but when it wasn’t it was a complete handful. OK, Rosberg and Hamilton probably aren’t as consistent performers as Alonso or Vettel, but is anyone? And it’s not them that needed to raise their game in the race, it was the tyre munching W04. That’s a poorly judged comment.

          1. The W04 was probably the most frustrating car of 2013

            I am unsure whether Williams, Ferrari and Force India will agree with you ;)

            That’s a poorly judged comment

            Hey I was talking about their mistakes and inconsistencies. I am fully aware of the tyre problem but I do not agree with you. They should really raise their game. (But as you said, who can except Vettel and Alonso ?)

      2. I think they had a Q-based car (as evidenced by racing to 12th place in Spain), and struggled to work out a strategy for the races early on (should have attacked like Alonso in Spain rather than driven to deltas, like Button did before discovering they had underused their tyres and effectively gone slow on purpose, like trying to drive to a speed limit in an F1 race!). Showing this was their struggles with car set-up (to not overheat the rears in the races), and hence Hamilton only rarely comfortable with the car. At those times he did shine, and deserved 2 race wins, with Nico taking Monaco and Lewis second there (SC pit blip), taking GB and Hungary, with Nico 3rd in Malaysia. Perhaps him and Nico having differing styles (like Nico and MSc) doesn’t help car development/set-ups. But Mercedes always made cars better suited for the old Bridgestones than the new Pirellis… rock hard Pirellis could turn to their favour for 2014.

        I agree that with a season of development under his belt (and less self-criticising, a better mental state, get his father back in there instead of a pop-star girlfriend, send her home to look after the baby needed to get back together! Hope for a Grosjean fatherhood effect to take hold!), he should be comfortably ahead of Nico most of the time and a real challenger for the 2014 WDC. He’s definitely Mercedes’ best hope, along with Vettel for Renault, and Alonso/Kimi scoring points off each other for Ferrari.

        1. @fastiesty – I don’t think driving to deltas hurt Mercedes, I mean, it didn’t hurt Red Bull, I just think they have a car that hurts the tyres. I do agree that Hamilton and Rosberg may have different driving styles though, with Rosberg not being especially happy when Hamilton is quick and visa versa. Really the only races that both Mercedes were working well was Monaco and Silverstone, where I think Mercedes had the fastest car. However with a) a chassis that he is involved in the development of, b) conservative Pirellis and c) a Mercedes V6 that is promising a lot, Hamilton is the undeniable favourite in 2014 even if the unimaginative are still insisting that it’ll be Vettel.

          1. @william-brierty Agreed. It’ll be nice to really see a direct Vettel vs. Hamilton title fight! Hamilton should get a second WDC at some point IMO – so hopefully next season or soon (it’ll be fitting in a Mercedes).

      3. Rosberg, who would have easily exceeded Lewis’ points tally had he not had so much bad luck

        Is that really correct? I know he had a lot of poor luck in the first half of the season, but that was almost entirely when he was running behind Hamilton anyway. Was he that much better in the second half?

        1. @matt90 – True, but I say that with the suggestion that Rosberg should innately be behind Hamilton, because Hamilton has so much natural talent, and therefore the very fact that he wasn’t always behind Lewis suggests that he extracted a greater percentage of his own ability. And yes, after Hamilton ruled the roost at Mercedes for the mid part of the season, he dramatically fell away after the summer break, and Rosberg comprehensively outperformed Lewis even on tracks that Hamilton is supreme at, such as Abu Dhabi. Rosberg put together a better season than Hamilton did. Fact. Will that be the case if Hamilton is happy with the W05? Not a chance.

          1. Abu Dhabi isn’t a great example due to Hamilton’s cracked chassis. And I don’t think it is ‘fact’. I think they were quite close over the season and that you could make the argument for either being better than the other.

            1. @matt90 – True, I forgot about that. However Hamilton doesn’t have that excuse for Italy, Singapore and India, and I still think that Hamilton has capacity to beat Rosberg quite easily, so it really shouldn’t have been as close as it was.

            2. Hamilton had a slow puncture in Italy and in Singapore ended up 2 seconds behind Rosberg (maybe Rosberg had problems, I don’t remember). I understand that perhaps his season was poor compared to his ultimate ability and Rosberg’s might have been quite good, but nevertheless I think it is very wrong to say that Rosberg was categorically better.

      4. That’s a good insight. The 2nd half of the season has been hard to watch for me. It’s been one of the hardest spells of his F1 career, along with the 1st half of 2009. But I still believe if he has the car more to his liking next year (and a more conservative tyre), we will see his 2012 form return, extracting everything out of it. Fingers crossed then that the car is a good one!

    16. “Something tells me Bahrain will have an F1 night race” – or maybe it’s the sportscar race this weekend that finishes in the dark. That’s a bad case of F1 tunnel vision, he probably thinks Mark Webber’s “retired” as well.

      Talking of Mark, he says (to Peter Windsor) that Flavio Briatore’s “last goal was to get me the Ferrari seat” – aha! That might explain why he was spotted hanging around the Ferrari garage at one or two races – and why those “my sources may have seen Driver X’s manager near the Sauber truck” reports don’t necessarily mean anything. Remember how many teams Massa said he talked to before signing for Williams.

      1. @tomsk

        or maybe it’s the sportscar race this weekend that finishes in the dark. That’s a bad case of F1 tunnel vision

        Given that the person in question is in Bahrain to report on said race, that seems a strange thing to accuse them of.

        There have been rumours earlier in the season that Bahrain was considering an F1 night race. Sports cars do not require floodlighting to race at night. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable conclusion to draw.

        1. Ulp, caught out badly there – there’s no room for context on Twitter. If the lights are a new addition, maybe they’ll give them a test run on Sunday. Sportscars don’t require floodlighting, but it would make them a lot easier to identify.

          I’d welcome an F1 night race there – it’ll mean a start time similar to Brazil and better photos. I guess America will be awake to watch it, too.

    17. Maldonado to Lotus seems more and more inevitable. What a shame!

      1. Hopefully grosjean wipes the floor with him

    18. the question is: would he beat alonso in a brow fight?

    19. As for the COTD, if that’s indeed Italian journalists’ view…. sigh… how about getting their facts straight before complaining? As yobo01 added they are wrong about why Pirelli had to change the tyre construction. They have no clue why Massa received the penalty either. Vettel didn’t crossed the chevroned part of the track and Webber didn’t after getting warnings from his race engineer unlike Massa. From what I saw, Webber’s case was more marginal, again unlike Massa who crossed the line so blatantly lap after lap. That was the difference. Yet, Italian journalists think the almighty Ferrai’s political power should affect stewards’ decisions and FIA rightly should favor them. People say you shouldn’t expect fair competition in F1, still the level of their sense of entitlement is just shocking to say the least.

      1. @Shena It also casts the silly ‘Vettel yellow flag’ affair 12 months ago in a new light.

        1. I guess forbidding Alonso to tweet anything about Ferrari fits into it as well then (see Keiths tweets a couple of minutes ago.)

        2. Off track politicking is one thing (which is already far from fine), but taking it for granted that stewards should apply the rules selectively to their drivers for their on track stuffs is just… Fortunately for us, this time the race wasn’t a title decider and it was very clear to the viewers who are willing to pay attention to the directive.

          From the linked article, “The letter to the FIA was in no way intended to undermine the legality of the race result. We received tens of thousands of queries relating to this matter from all over the world and it was incumbent on us to take the matter further, asking the Federation to look into an incident that could have cast a shadow over the championship in the eyes of all Formula One enthusiasts, not just Ferrari fans.”
          Maybe it’s because I’m not a tifoso or an European, but to me it always feels rather bizarre that they feel the need to do these things to appease the disgruntled masses and sporting results are taken as a tool for real life politics.

      2. When I read the report of LDM’s interview with RAI Uno yesterday, I did wonder who the intended audience was.
        Remember that LDM would very much like to transfer into mainstream Italian politics and with Berlusconi’s final humiliation, LDM may think he now has the chance. So I wondered if this was his opportunity to show how much he has achieved with Ferrari and how much influence the team has under his control.
        Of course if La Scuderia had actually won a title (either one) he would have pinned that honour to his chest for the RAI cameras. But even without that, the interview seemed like Step 1 on his road towards Italian political power.

    20. There is one thing that all 2013 rookies have in common: They significantly improved their performances as the season went on. (It’s a bit harder to judge Bianchi’s improvment rate as Chilton seemed to be hopelessly off the pace in the first races.) I think it means that they were not really ready for F1, which is no suprise, given the restrictions on testing.

      Even though Esteban Gutierrez doesn’t look like a future champion to me, it is clear that he wasn’t able to demonstrate his potential in 2013. Given that and also the fact that he was compared to Hulkenberg, probably one of the best of the current drivers, I’m saying it wouldn’t be wrong to give Gutierrez another year to prove himself.

    21. Gutierrez may feel he improved at the end of the season, but apart from Japan, he still didn’t get the results.

      If Sauber keep Gutierrez for next year, they should consider this a second and final chance for him. They should also only give him half a season to improve, if not then they should fire him.

      1. Agreed. His pace has clearly improved but he is still looking a bit ragged in the races. If his clumsiness can’t be remedied then they should look elsewhere, as you say. Mind that’s easier said than done with Sauber’s financial troubles and the money he brings with him (unless that’s cut because of Perez at FI).

    22. Regarding Gutierrez and the current state of Formula 1 and its drivers, as an f1 fan, I can’t help but feel somehow alarmed. Gutierrez, I think we can all agree, is not at the same level of Perez (the one with my name). However, his future looks more certain than the former. The same goes to Di Resta, who, like him or not, is a very quick driver. A DTM winner against former F1 drivers and very talented young factory backed drivers. And he beat Sutil, again, another highly regarded driver. Both seem to be exiting F1. As a fan, I want new blood in Formula 1, but not at all costs and because of the “wrong” reasons. F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport. If the best teams or top midfield drivers have to choose a driver not for talent but for financial backing, then isn’t formula 1 downgrading itself as a “lesser” category? Seeing the likes of Hulkenberg, that have proven again and again his talent, and newcomers like Da Costa, Vanthoorne out of a deserving place on the grid, and seeing the likes of Chilton, Van Der Garde, Gutierrez as regulars makes me worried about the route the way things are going. No disregard for these drivers whatsoever, I think they are good drivers, but F1 should be about the Best of the Best. In order to get to F1, a championship win or runner up in euro Formula 3, F 3.5 or GP2 should be mandatory- or at least a top 3 result in Macau Formula 3 race. If a driver can’t achieve this, in my view, he doesn’t deserve a place in Formula 1 . In Moto GP, it seems, its much more straightforward.

      1. I meat “if the best teams or top midfield teams”, not “top midfield drivers”, sorry about that.

      2. I think I agree with you. But I also feel that it’s disappointing to see certain ‘senior’ drivers not giving up gracefully and retiring. I want to see new talent in F1 as well, not elder-statesmen of the grid slipping down from front-runner teams to midfield.

        1. Wel, button only went that way because the car turned up bad @timothykatz ;)
          ,I’d say both Barrichello and Massa felt they still had something to prove though, and Schumacher entered what he had thought was a winning team; not sure who else you mean though?

          1. You certainly mentioned the current quartet I was thinking of, but I’d also go back to the later careers of Jacques Villeneuve, Jean Alesi and even Damon Hill to some extent.
            In addition, there is a particular driver who seems to be ‘mired in midfield’ where he has driven for several years without either setting the Championship on fire, or moving up to a top team. After six or seven seasons, I think that it would be better for them to move on and allow some new talent to have their opportunity.
            Think of the ‘star drivers’ who might have been, but never quite got a real chance. Anthony Davidson, Daniel Juncadella, Mike Conway, Marco Wittmann, possibly even Robin Frijns. Not saying that any of these would have been champions, but I feel that the constricted state of F1 has prevented them from having a chance.

            1. I agree. What I found interesting also was the hurry to promote Kviat to Toro Rosso and make him skip the other formulas (and the Macau Grand Prix). Yes, he won GP3, but GP3 is no F3 in terms of competitiveness (or F Renault 3.5). He was impressive in friday testing, lets see how this translates next season. Da Costa deserved the seat, for example. He just got 2nd place in Macau after a year in F R 3.5, in a car he didn’t race for a year. That’s a proof of talent in my book. Edoardo Mortara was another case of this. No chance to show his potential. And Kamui Kobaiashi, a podium finisher, consistent scorer and exciting driver, also sidelined. Next on the line seems to be either Hulk or Di Resta.

    23. Mclarens poor form this year got me wondering if they could become the next “Williams” . But with talented drivers in kevin magnussen and button they may recover next year

      1. Its not the drivers mate, they got the car design totally wrong this year…I am really worried it will happen again in 2014 (not even hiring Alonso or Vettel would save them with such a slow car…)

    24. I don’t agree. I personaly have the feeling that he was one of the worst pilots in the season. I know he did well in the past, but I got the feeling that be ready is something he’s not.

      I realy miss Kobayashi. =/

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