The Mexican has yet to score a point in this years championship and has already been penalised for a clumsy collision with Adrian Sutil at the Chinese Grand Prix.
His best result so far has been 12th place in Malaysia, where he did show good pace in the wet conditions, but his best qualifying position so far has been 14th. Meanwhile the more experienced Nico Hulkenberg has scored five points and made it through to the final qualifying session.
However Gutierrez has so far had to battle with a below-par machine, the Sauber C32 has proved tricky to master even for the highly regarded Hulkenberg.
Talking to Autosport, Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said a lot of the struggles have been down to the C32. “A lot has to do with the performance of the car, so you have to be careful not to start making assessments after four races, but yes, we have to keep a very close eye on him and see if the expectations are satisfied or not.”
Kaltenborn insists though that Gutierrez is a good driver but he just needs time to develop and improve.”
“We have no doubts about his mental capabilities to get on top of things and understand them. But he is struggling at the moment with his performance. So we need to try to focus on get that potential out because we know it’s there.
“The consistency is not there now. Of course we can say that when you hire a rookie driver you can’t expect that at this stage. I think after four races it’s fast too early to make that kind of assessment.
“You can’t expect too much, on the one side, but on the other you have to expect a lot because you just have limited opportunities. And it’s very difficult to balance this out.”
It’s a tricky balance to find and one that needs to be found soon, because there are not many chances in Formula 1. “You have to give him a chance, but at the same time we know as a team we don’t have many chances, and whatever you do in a season can have a straight impact on your finances for the future. So it’s a tough call.”
Some question Sauber’s decision to promote Gutierrez but he has shown flashes of speed, much like Romain Grosjean he just needs to hone that speed and stay out of trouble to find the consistency.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic