Who is Esteban Gutierrez?
The Sauber reserve driver will be promoted to a race seat with the Swiss team in 2013, but what do we know about the Mexican?
By William Esler. Last Updated: 23/11/12 2:29pm
Esteban Gutierrez started karting in 2004, contesting the final three events of the Mexican Rotax Max Challenge.
The following season he contested the full campaign, finishing the year as Mexican Champion at the Grand National in Indiana, USA, and earning a place at the World Finals in Malaysia.
Gutierrez stayed in karting in 2006, finishing first in the North Mexico regional series of Rotax Max, and also winning all five rounds of the Camkart Challenge Mexico. That year he also got his first taste of single-seater action with a two-day test in Dynamic Motorsports' Formula Renault 2000 car, matching the lap record at Zacatecas.
A move north of the border beckoned in 2007 as the Mexican graduated from karting to Formula BMW USA. He made an immediate impact, taking pole position at nine of the 14 races on his way to second in the Championship.
- Age - 21
- Born - 5th August 1991
- Hometown - Monterrey, Mexico
- 2012 results - 3rd in GP2 Series
- Previous titles - 2010 GP3 Series, 2008 Formula BMW Europe
- First F1 experience - December 2009, BMW Sauber test drive
A September test in an A1GP car followed at Silverstone, ahead of a permanent move to Europe in 2008 to compete in Formula BMW Europe.
Gutierrez took the Championship by storm, finishing on the podium at 12 of the 16 races and picking up seven wins on his way to the title. The achievement made him the youngest Mexican driver to ever win an international title at just 17.
In 2009 he joined ART Grand Prix to contest the F3 Euroseries. The team had a rich history in the sport having won the Drivers' title every year between 2004 and 2008 with Jamie Green, Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg respectively. 2009 proved to be no different as Jules Binachi took the crown, although series rookie Gutierrez fared less well in ninth - some 88 points behind his team-mate.
Nonetheless, that winter he got his first taste of a Formula 1 car, testing for the BMW Sauber team as a reward for winning the Formula BMW crown the previous year.
ART entered the inaugural GP3 Series in 2010 and Gutierrez moved with them. The Mexican took five race wins and four further podiums to become Champion. He underlined his pace with three hat-tricks of pole, fastest lap and race win during the campaign.
He graduated to GP2 with ART for the 2011 season finishing 13th in the standings during a difficult first campaign. Valencia was a highlight, however, with Gutierrez picking up his only win of the season in the Sprint Race, setting fastest lap along the way, forcing others in the paddock to take notice. He also served as reserve driver for Sauber that season, getting two days running in the Abu Dhabi young driver test.
He assumed the role of lead driver at ART (renamed as Lotus GP) alongside rookie team-mate James Calado in 2012. Guiterrez finished third in the standings with three wins, four podium finishes and 176 points. His total of five fastest laps during the season equalled that of Champion Davide Valsecchi, highlighting the Mexican's pace.
Gutierrez made his F1 practice debut with Sauber in India, filling in for the ill Sergio Perez, and after a further two days running at the 2012 Abu Dhabi young driver test, he was promoted to a race seat with the Hinwil team 2013.