Esteban Gutierrez: “It’s really going to be quite a challenge”


Esteban Gutierrez - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Esteban Gutierrez heads to the European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan still looking for his first points of the season, with the Mexican having finished thirteenth last weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The Haas F1 Team driver has revealed that the simulator has been very beneficial to the Mexican as he attempts to learn this weekends Baku Street Circuit venue, the all-new circuit on the Formula 1 calendar, although he knows it won’t be quite the same as getting actual track time in his VF-16.

“The simulator has been very important,” revealed Gutierrez. “It’s been quite an experience. Baku is a very challenging track and I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to getting there in person.

“The feeling [in the simulator] is not exactly the same, but it’s useful to learn the track – the corners and its angles. It gives you a little bit of an idea of how the curbs will be and a bit of the philosophy behind the car’s set-up. It gives us an idea on the approach we should have.” 

Gutierrez revealed that he enjoyed the circuit when he did run it in the simulator, and hopes that he gets the same feeling when he finally takes to the track on Friday for first practice. He also feels coming to a new track will mean his Haas team will be on a more level playing field rather than playing catch up, with none of the teams having any previous data for this all-new Baku circuit.

“I feel that it will be a bit more level, but that doesn’t clear the fact that as a team we have a bit less experience overall,” said Gutierrez. “That makes it complicated to predict things, because when you have more information and more experience, you can make better predictions.

“It will be interesting to get to know Baku and its characteristics and see where we stand. No matter what, we’ll approach it in a positive way and try to extract the maximum amount from our car at this new circuit.

“I cannot compare it to anything. From what I saw on the simulator, it’s a completely different racetrack. It’s really going to be quite a challenge, and I think that’s going to make things interesting for everybody. I liked it in the simulator, so I hope it’s going to be like that in reality.”