Gutiérrez: I am full of energy and very hungry to race
Esteban Gutiérrez has a new lease on life with his appointment as Haas F1 Team driver for 2016, and the Mexican intends to seize the opportunity to prove he deserves to be in Formula 1. He spoke ahead of his new team’s first test at Barcelona next week.
What are your expectations for the Barcelona test?
We expect to run the car as many laps as possible. This will be our priority, as we need to be sure to sort all the possible issues we may have in order to fix them on time. It will be very interesting to develop our car setup through the tests in preparation ahead of the first race. I am sure we will have plenty of work to do. At the same time, the most important thing will be to always stay together as a team in order to be very efficient with our progress.
How much are you looking forward to developing a race car that you’re going to drive for an entire season?
I feel very excited after a complete season as a reserve driver. I am full of energy, full of ideas and very hungry to race. The development of our car from the beginning will be crucial in order to start the season confident that we have done our job as a team to prepare in the best way possible.
As the third driver at Ferrari last year, what did you do to stay prepared for a return to the cockpit?
I focused a lot on my preparation. Basically, anything that will bring me as close as if I were driving. I did a lot of karting, also tested quite a few days in Fiorano with old F1 cars and a lot of days in the simulator in Maranello. Ahead of every race I even tried my best to put my mindset as if I was going to race, and I used my imagination to keep my mind sharp. I used all the time that I had to observe the whole team, mainly the drivers in order to learn the best things from them.
Describe a lap around Barcelona…
Barcelona is a track we use a lot for testing. It’s probably the track that I have done the most laps in my career. You come into the first section into turn one, focused on the entry speed and also the line, in preparation for turn two and turn three, which is crucial in order to have a good exit out of the famous and fast turn three of Barcelona. Approaching into turn four, you have a very sharp brake to turn in very quickly, carrying the speed into the corner. The exit is very long with a lot of load on the rear tires. You arrive into turn five, it’s a bit downhill, quite a slow corner, on braking you don’t really see the entry well and, at the same time, it is very important not to miss the apex. Turn seven is very sharp. The corner has some banking, which makes it faster than what you can see from outside approaching. Then into turn nine, it’s up hill. You turn in with very small brake, and a short lift on the throttle. The exit is a bit blind, and the car usually is moving around, trying to go on power as quickly as possible and a very, very fast corner. From turn 10 onward, you have the first sector which is usually very challenging because of the tire temperatures. You have the tires heated up from the previous two sectors and it makes it the most important and challenging part of the track because it’s where you can gain or lose a lot of time as it is the most technical part of the track.
How did you spend your off-season?
I spent my off-season together with my family in my home town of Monterrey. I also used that time to relax, but at the same time, I continue my physical preparation, as it’s really the best moment of the year to get a good rhythm before all the traveling starts for the season. I also enjoyed some karting days, some days at my ranch with my friends, so all in all it was a great time to get filled up with energy before the season starts.