Van der Garde to replace Gutierrez in Spain FP1

Van der Garde to replace Gutierrez in Spain FP1

Sauber’s reserve driver Giedo van der Garde will replace Esteban Gutierrez for the first practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.JSX8942

The team has also confirmed that the Dutchman will drive the Ferrari-powered C33 on the first day of the second in-season test, which takes place at the Circuit de Catalunya on the Tuesday and Wednesday after the race weekend. Gutierrez will be at the wheel on day two.

The Swiss outfit is taking major upgrades to the first European race of the year, including an “extensive weight reduction”, engine software improvements and a big aerodynamic update (which consists of a modified front wing, a new engine cover, new side-pod fins and deflectors as well as other smaller tweaks).

“The Spanish Grand Prix is the beginning of the European season, and where updates to the car will be introduced,” said Gutierrez. “For us it is an opportunity to improve our level of competitiveness. I have faith in my team, everyone is doing their best.

“We are positive and expect to make a step forward. Regarding the track, I really enjoy driving on the Circuit de Catalunya. Last year was very positive for me because I did the fastest lap in the race. I am fully prepared to go for the maximum and to get the most out of the car.”

His team-mate Adrian Sutil is hopeful that the team can make steps forward: “We will be travelling to Barcelona with some car updates, which I hope will help us to improve our performance. Obviously, I expect more than in the last races. After three retirements in a row, we need to finish this race. I am looking forward, and I think that our performance will be stronger than in the previous races.”

Image courtesy of Sauber F1 Team

Jack Leslie

Jack Leslie

Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport and Formula 1 journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his F1 paddock debut for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle, RumbleStripNews, Formula1Blog, PureF1 and F1 Plus, as well as running a popular blog.