Esteban Gutierrez is trying to sort out his future after Sauber’s recent driver announcements left him high and dry.
While he is not one of the drivers with a disputed contract for next year, it’s clear that not only he was unable to conclude a deal with Monisha Kaltenborn, but also that his Mexican backers are extremely frustrated with how things have unfolded at the Swiss team. In essence they lost a bidding war, although there are suggestions that’s not the only reason for their disappointment in Sauber’s management.
“After long talks with the teams and negotiations and everything we didn’t reach an agreement,” said Gutierrez. “That’s the way it is, it’s quite disappointing not to have – yet – a seat for next season, although my priority is to maintain here in F1. Parallel to that we’ve been working on other things, and hopefully that can work out.”
Asked by this writer how long he had know that he was likely to miss out he said: “I knew quite a while ago. Honestly when you work with people for so many years, you know them. You know the body language, you know different things. We were anyway in negotiations, they were interested. It was just not reasonable for us to continue.
“The sponsors are backing me, and I really feel grateful with the, because we’ve been working together through this process. The sponsors are very motivated, some of them have been willing to do different things. They are all together, the same as it is, or even better. Just the deal here didn’t work out – something which is not reasonable, you obviously don’t go forward with it. As simple as that. It’s just too much for what you can ask. It has to be a win-to-win situation.”
Gutierrez admits that F1 opportunities will be hard to find.
“At the moment it’s quite slim. There is probably only one seat available, and we’ve been working on that, and also on other things, which probably require a bit more patience and some risk. We shall share that as soon as we have something concrete.”
Asked if he might end up as a third driver somewhere he said: “We are working on different alternatives.”