August 5, 1991
Sauber F1 Team
|Career statistics to end 2013|
Sauber has given 22-year-old Gutierrez a second crack at F1 – but only after preferred options Maldonado and Perez ended up elsewhere. The link with Mexican backers Telmex also helped seal a deal in the youngster’s favour, the announcement coming as a pleasant Christmas present on December 21.
Gutierrez earned his stripes with a Formula BMW Europe championship win back in 2009 and has been associated with Sauber ever since. He enjoys a unique place in history as the first winner of the GP3 series in 2010, after which he completed two seasons in GP2.
They yielded race victories in Valencia and at Silverstone, with third place overall in the 2012 series before his promotion to the Sauber F1 race seat last season. By his own admission, 2013 was not an easy year for him.
“It was a steep learning curve last season, but by working closely with the team I was able to improve continuously,” he said.
In fact his only points came in a single chunk when he finished seventh in the 15th round of the season in Japan, a result that saw him take 16th place overall, the best placing for any of the 2013 rookie drivers.
He had also claimed a maiden fastest F1 race lap in Spain much earlier in the season. “It will be my fourth year with the team, the second as a racing driver, and I feel comfortable in taking the next step,” he said when his re-signing was announced.