Formula 1 rookie Esteban Gutierrez is feeling highly motivated ahead of his debut around the legendary Suzuka circuit, which will host the 29th running of the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend. The 22-year-old Mexican came close to scoring his maiden points in the sport last time out in Korea, by finishing 11th after starting within the top ten.
With the current Formula 1 season drawing to a conclusion for Sauber, both Esteban Gutierrez and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg will understandably be keen on continuing to provide strong results for the Hinwil-based outfit as they battle alongside Toro Rosso in the Constructors’ Championship. After the team’s competitive display of pace during the Korean Grand Prix weekend, they have now drawn level with Toro Rosso in the Championship on 31 points.
After Toro Rosso’s disappointing double-DNF at the Korean Grand Prix last time out, Sauber will undoubtedly be striving to finally leapfrog the Italian outfit during this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. Since enduring a tough start to the season, Sauber have begun to visibly improve within the midfield, with both Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez qualifying within the top ten in Korea. Although the Mexican rookie has yet to race F1 machinery around Suzuka, he feels highly motivated ahead of his first experience around the legendary circuit as he continues his quest for his maiden points in the sport.
“Suzuka is a circuit I always wanted to drive on.” Enthused Esteban Gutierrez, “I know it very well from all the onboard footage that I’ve watched, and I know the track from last year when I went with the team to the GP. It’s an interesting track with a lot of fast corners and it’s quite technical too. I can already say it will be one of my most favourites. I’m looking forward to going to Japan again. The fans are amazing, they know a lot about Formula One, and they even knew me last year when I was the reserve and test driver. It’s a great atmosphere, there is a good energy, and seeing the fans so passionate about the sport motivates me too.”
For the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, Auto GP Series runner-up Kimiya Sato will return to Sauber as the team’s reserve driver. The 24-year-old Hyogo-born driver competed during the Young Driver Test earlier in the season with Sauber at Silverstone, and will continue his work with the outfit on October 18th at Vairano when he completes a straight-line aero test. Kimiya Sato narrowly missed out on Championship success in the Auto GP Series with Euronova Racing, eventually finishing nine points behind winner Vittorio Ghirelli.
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