Tag Archives: Gutierrez

Motorsports Mondial

GP2 Asia

The Contenders

Gentlemen, start your engines for the taste of Arabian rose water. GP2, the final frontier before F1, starts its Asian variant on Friday. Here’s a look at the men who will fight to be the top Desert Fox. Romain & Co.

GROSJEAN. DAMS’ Romain Grosjean, a Geneva banker during the week, set the pace in first pre-season test session. Now under Gravity Management, and included in Lotus-Renault F1 team’s extended driver line-up, success in the 2011 GP2 campaigns, both in Asia and Europe, are crucial if he is to regain his place as a regular F1 driver. A brief foray as Nelsinho Piquet’s replacement was derailed after then manager Flavio Briatore was booted out of the team by Renault following the Singapore crash-gate sorry saga. Grosjean won the inaugural GP2 Asia series.

BIANCHI. Jules Bianchi, from Brignoles near Marseilles, is one of the pre-season favorites. He was third in the main series last year with three poles and four podium finishes. In the Asian version he recorded a pole and a podium finish from five races. Bianchi has won in every series he has competed and it will not be a surprise if he is to add the GP2 title to the list this year. His future is in good hands, a Ferrari contract and managed by Nicholas Todt. Bianchi’s grand father, Mauro, won the prestigious Macau Grand Prix.

BIRD. Sam is on a high wire after winning at Monza last September in his rookie year. He was fifth in the main championship. This season has also brought a change in teams from ART to iSport International; team that took Timo Glock to championship. Sam, now 24, previously competed in F3 Euro series and British F3. In 2009 he finished third in the Macau Grand Prix and was second in the 2005 Formula BMW UK Championship. He is managed by CJ Motorsport, the same people who manage Jean-Karl Vernay.

GUTIERREZ. This young Mexican sensation from Monterrey has won two championships in the past three years in the cut-throat world of European road racing. In his rookie GP2 season he is teamed with Jules Bianchi at the fabled and re-named Lotus ART team. Expect some cage rattling and podium finishes from Esteban as the season progresses. Like his teammate he also has a contract with an F1 team; Sauber, both team and driver enjoying support from Telmex. Success will ring soon!

ERICSSON. Marcus has been making his mark in motor racing all over the world. Success in karting brought him to the attention and management of Kenny Brack, the only Swede to win the Indy 500. Ericsson took victory in the GP2 sprint race at Valencia last year and finished his rookie season 17th in the championship. This year he moves from Super Nova to iSport International. In 2009 he won the Japanese F3 Championship, was fifth in the 2008 British F3 and won the 2007 Formula BMW UK championship with 7 wins and 11 pole positions from 18 starts.

PIC. Charles won the opening round of the 2010 GP2 Championship in Barcelona, and was 10th in final standings. He also recorded a win in the Asian series to finish 5th in the championship. This year he has moved to Barwa Addax from Arden International. Pic picked up third place in the 2009 World Series by Renault with two wins. In his karting days he won the prestigious Andrea Margutti Trophy in 2005. Still only 20, time is on his side but he must win races in 2011 to get the attention of F1 team owners. His Brother Arthur will compete in WSR this year.

LEIMER. Fabio was the winner of the sprint race of the opening round last year in Barcelona which remained his only podium finish of the season. The Swiss-driver is hoping to be a championship contender after switching from Ocean Racing Technology to Rapax, which took Pastor Maldonado to GP2 glory last year. Leimer is a previous Swiss karting champion and won the 2009 International Formula Master Championship with seven victories. His racing career has been supported by Rainer Gantenbein of Bautro Management.

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and GP2 regards.

All photos courtesy of GP2 Media.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: www.estebanracing.com

Gutierrez Goes GP2

Abu Dhabi: The sands of time and winds of change are blowing at the Yas Marina circuit. GP2, the official feeder series to the gates of heaven for its drivers, is in full swing in preparation for the Asian series which begins next weekend.

The established and experienced stars of the series are expected to engage in an F1-career making ‘battle royale’, both in the Asian version and the main series which will get under way in Istanbul in May.

Romain Grosjean set the pace on day one. The Geneva-based banker has previous, albeit brief, F1 experience. Now part of Gravity Management Romain has been knocking on F1’s door for some time with results to warrant a full time ride. At the age of 24, Grosjean’s only goal is to win the GP2 Championship this year. No excuses, no part time rides in Auto GP or FIA GT championships.

Jules Bianchi, from the south of France, has racing pedigree and multiple-championships to his name to warrant a seat in F1 next season. He placed a very credible third in his rookie GP2 season last year and is one of the favorites for the title this year. The 21-year old is also a proud member of Ferrari Driver Academy, and with Nicolas Todt managing his career the future is bright for the Brignoles boy.

Landing a victory in his rookie season at Monza gave Sam Bird high confidence and this year, now with iSport International, the 24-year old English driver is a serious contender for the championship. Last year he was fifth overall and apart from five podium finishes he also recorded four fastest laps.

Photo: www.estebanracing.com

Enter Esteban: It was only four years ago, near Salt Lake City, Utah that an young unknown Mexican driver made his motor racing debut by claiming pole position for both the opening races of the 2007 Formula BMW USA championship.

Fast forward to 2011 and Esteban Gutierrez has become the Monterrey Monster. In the last three years he has won two very competitive championships; the 2008 Formula BMW Europe and the inaugural GP3 series last year.

The 19-year old is teammate to Bianchi this year at renamed Lotus-ART team. Gutierrez will be racing against much more experienced drivers but if recent history is any indication most of them will be chasing the Rookie.

On Wednesday, the opening day of practice at the Yas Marina circuit, Gutierrez could only manage 34 laps due to a sand storm. Now there’s your first surprise of the season! The morning session saw him record 14th fastest time but in the afternoon session he was comfortably in top 10. His best time of 1m 50.727s placed him eighth.

The second day scenery shifted from sand storm to dense fog resulting in a delay of over two hours. James Jakes accident cut sort the final session by another 15 minutes. Esteban, eager to log more and faster laps, was left stranded with 13th fastest time.

Gutierrez reflected on two days of testing in the desert on his website www.estebanracing.com “There were two days of training but unfortunately we were not able to take advantage of them because of the weather. We didn’t complete our program and for that reason we have to be very efficient in the last two days.

“In the end we were able to do some basic stuff that in a way will help us understand the car better, once we have analyzed the data. We have to continue working and remain focused on our own program, not comparing ourselves to the other teams.

“The objective is not only to be quick, but also get to understand the car better under every situation that is presented to us during the season.”

Esteban and the GP2 entourage take to the track again next Sunday and Monday.

The 2011 GP2 Asia series will consist of six races, Yas Marina hosting the opening round, February 10-12. Bahrain will host the final two rounds, February 17-19, and the F1 support event, March 11-13.

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and GP2 regards.

Motorsports Mondial

Success Brewing

Photo: GP3 Media

Gutiérrez on the go. Four decades ago Pedro Rodriguez drove to victory at the fabled Spa-Francorchamps to win the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix in a BRM. That was the last time an F1 race was won by a driver from south of the border.

The wins and winds of change are coming soon to a track near you.

Meet Esteban Gutiérrez, the new “Speedy Gonzalez” from Monterrey, who has been making headlines not only on the Mexican radio but on racing tracks both sides of the pond.

Hoop it up!

Basketball’s loss was motor racing’s gain, an injury while enjoying his first love sidelined Gutierrez and landed him in the racing lane. The kid was quick in karting from the start, and in 2006 at the age of 15 won all five races in the Camkart Challenge Mexico, and finished fourth in the Mexican Grand Nationals in Zacatecas.

Gutierrez made his single-seater racing debut in the 2007 Formula BMW US Championship. The opening round was at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, and he was pepper quick from the start claiming pole positions for both the opening races.

The season saw him take four victories and nine pole positions to claim Rookie of the Year title. The Gutierrez “Gong” show sailed across the Atlantic to compete in the new Formula BMW Europe after the unification of the German and British iterations.

Podium finishes in the opening two races at Barcelona was a taste of things to come for the competition. Seven victories, including six in a row, sealed the championship for the Mexican driver.

Gutierrez drove for Josef Kaufmann Racing, a highly successful Formula BMW team based in Wolfsfeld, Germany. Kaufmann’s list of drivers over the years include Grand Prix winner Gerhard Berger, Indy winner Arie Luyendyk and the latest German prodigy Nico Hulkenberg, who won the German Formula BMW championship in his rookie season.

Kaufmann opined, “Gutierrez is as quick as Hulkenberg.” The German won a championship in every championship he competed in and is now enduring a tough rookie season in F1.

Gutierrez knows the feeling. For the 2009 season he by-passed British and German F3 National Championships and took the plunge into the cut-throat world of F3 Euro Series.

Racing against much more experienced drivers Gutierrez could not get the results he wanted, “I was trying too hard,” he explained last year at the season finale at Hockenheim. The determined driver was able to secure a top ten finish in the championship, highlight of which was a pair of podium finishes and respect of fellow competitors, both on and off the track.

“Esteban is quick, I mean really quick,” describes Canadian Daniel Morad who raced against Gutierrez in Formula BMW US, and won last Sunday’s GP3 race at Silverstone.

GP3 New Era

From the minds of Bernie and Bruno Michel comes the new feeder series to GP2, the final frontier before the promised land of Formula 1. Gutierrez decided to stay with French ART team for the 2010 season but switch focus to the new GP3 Series.

The smart move is already paying dividends and history may be repeating itself. Just like his first racing season in Europe in the 2008 Formula BMW Championship, Gutierrez got on the podium in his first race and has been on top of his game and podium since then, winning three opening races of the weekend in a row.

The GP3 round at the British Grand Prix saw the very best of Gutierrez, he secured pole position by over half a second and dominated the race, resisting strong pressure early in the race from Rio Haryanto and recorded the fast lap of the race on the final lap.

Sunday’s reverse grid saw the man from Monterrey come from his eighth starting position to challenge pole-sitter Mirko Bortolotti for second place. Their thrilling battle was joined by Gutierrez’s ART teammate and America’s next and brightest F1 hopeful, Alexander Rossi.

On the final lap battle was so intense it was obvious somebody will pay the price. Initially, it looked like Gutierrez was the victim as he was pushed off-track by Bortolotti, allowing Rossi to race to a podium finish. Gutierrez still collected valuable points from his fourth place, which became a podium finish after Bortolotti was penalized 20 seconds which dropped the Italian to 13th.

The season is half over and Gutierrez goes to Germany in good ‘gesundheit’, leading the championship with twice as many points as second place driver, Rossi.

Does Gutierrez think championship is in the bag?

He laid out his game plan, “No, definitely not until the last race when it is done. You are really focused on each race to try and do your best and push forward and enjoy the season.”

Push forward is what he does best, and taste of success may have a Mexican flavor at Monza.

– – Nasir Hameed

Percolating regards from California

F1weekly podcast # 431

Maestro from Monterrey

Feature Interview: Esteban Gutierrez. Mas Rapido from Mexico

Man with the smile is Esteban Gutierrez, fresh from his victory in the GP3 race at Istanbul last Saturday, and now leading the championship in its inaugural season.

The young man from Monterrey started his motor racing career in grand style in Salt Lake City, in the 2007 Formula BMW US series, by taking pole positions for the first two races of his career. Since then he has been pepper quick, claiming Rookie of the Year honors before crossing the pond and drowning the competition in the 2008 Formula BMW Europe Championship with seven wins, six of them on the trot.

Josef Kaufmann ran both Nico Hulkenberg and Gutierrez in Formula BMW Europe and says Gutierrez is as quick as the German.

This is good news for motorsports fans south of the border as they have been waiting since the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix for a Mexican winner in Formula 1.

After a tough season in F3 Euro Series last year Gutierrez and his ART team, headed by Nicholas Todt, took the decision to enter the newly created GP3, the official feeder series to GP2, which in itself is billed as the official feeder series to the promised land.

Podcast 431 features an exclusive interview with this ‘el grande’ talented driver from Monterrey, Mexico. The conversation took place in Barcelona last month on the occasion of the opening round of the GP3 Series where Gutierrez was the only driver to be on the podium in both races of the weekend.

My thanks to Esteban Gutierrez for his time and his Manager Marks Granados for making this happen.

Please visit his website www.estebangtz.com for more information on his career and also www.gp3series.com for more information on the series, teams and drivers.

Special thanks to Ms. Amanda Hunt of GP3 Media for her kind assistance in granting F1Weekly media credentials.

— Nasir Hameed

Racing regards from California.

Motorsports Mondial

Alexander Rossi dominates in Barcelona.

The American driver kept his head and made the perfect start from pole position disappearing into the distance and leading home Lucas Foresti and teammate Esteban Gutierrez.

Having qualified a lowly 28th on Saturday Rossi had powered his way through the field in Race 1 finishing in the coveted eighth spot to start on pole for today’s race. When Michael Christensen missed his grid spot it meant a second formation lap for Race 2, leaving Rossi with another long wait whilst the 30-strong field lined up behind him, but the American kept his cool and his race was won from the start. Check out www.gp3series.com for further race information.

Stay tuned to Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed for more news from Barcelona.

F1weekly podcast # 395

Daniel Ricciardo

Podcast number 395

Testing in Jerez and it’s importance.

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed.

This weekends special edition podcast features Esteban Gutierrez.

BMW Sauber team has obtained the last available spot on the 2010 F1 grid.

Kimi Raikkonen to join the World Rally Championship with the Citroen Junior Team.

Daniel Ricciardo tops the time sheets on the last day in Jerez.

Pos  Driver      Car          Time       Gap       Laps
 1. Ricciardo    Red Bull        1m17.418s            77
 2. Di Resta     Force India     1m18.736s  + 1.318s  53
 3. Paffett      McLaren         1m18.746s  + 1.328s  59
 4. Conway       Brawn           1m19.096s  + 1.678s  77
 5. Hulkenberg   Williams        1m19.226s  + 1.808s 106
 6. Baguette     Sauber          1m19.356s  + 1.938s  70
 7. Turvey       McLaren         1m19.358s  + 1.940s  32
 8. Ericsson     Brawn           1m19.382s  + 1.964s  49
 9. Di Grassi    Renault         1m19.602s  + 2.184s 123
10. Hildebrand   Force India     1m19.873s  + 2.455s  41
11. Sanchez      Ferrari         1m21.147s  + 3.650s  39
12. Zampieri     Ferrari         1m21.279s  + 3.861s  42
12. Zipoli       Ferrari         1m21.725s  + 4.307s  41
13. Hartley      Toro Rosso      1m22.493s  + 5.075s  50
15. Bortolotti   Toro Rosso      1m23.271s  + 5.853s  34
16. Tung         Renault         1m32.477s  + 15.059s  4