IndyCar newcomer & ex-F1 star
Ex-Formula 1 driver and now IndyCar rookie Esteban Gutiérrez is the latest online driving instructor for SAFEisFAST.com.
The 25-year-old driver races in IndyCar for Dale Coyne Racing having previously enjoyed stints with Sauber, Ferrari and Haas in F1. Gutiérrez has also competed in Formula E, racing for Techeetah during the 2016/17 season.
After rising through the karting ranks back home in Mexico, Gutiérrez’s car-racing career began in the Formula BMW USA series. He went on to compete in the Formula 3 Euro Series and GP3, before two seasons in GP2 were enough to convince Sauber to give Gutiérrez a shot at F1 for 2013, a move that yielded six points and one fastest lap. Ferrari appointed Gutiérrez as their test driver for 2015, ahead of a season with Haas in 2016.
A brief spell in Formula E followed, before signing for Dale Coyne Racing half-way through the 2017 IndyCar season, replacing the injured Sebastien Bourdais. To date, Gutiérrez has 57 points from his first four races.
Esteban Gutiérrez answers your questions!
Hi Esteban, you’ve raced in Formula 1 and IndyCar which both use Turbo V6 engines, but which feels better to drive? Do you wish both series would go back to using V8 engines instead, or does that not matter too much to a driver?
IndyCar engine feels more natural since it doesn’t have the hybrid electric engine like F1 does. If you have big power and very loud sound that we all like, it doesn’t matter.
HOLA ESTEBAN: Comencé de viejo (44 años) pilotar carros de F-3 por hobbie haciendo tests en sesiones de 250 km varias veces al año, (Lo hago en Europa pero vivo en Venezuela donde poco queda en pie para poder practicar), obviamente no es suficiente entrenamiento. La pregunta que entrenamiento se pudiera hacer de manera remota para en la medida ir incrementando el nivel sin esta en contacto físico con el carro? Saludos gracias Y mucha suerte y éxitos en tu nueva categoría.
Karting es el mejor medio y de entrenamiento físico recomiendo ejercicios que tengan similitudes en cuanto a reflejos y reacción rápida. A mí me gusta mucho jugar tenis y para la concentración, yoga.
If there was a race in Mexico, what existing circuit (Excluding the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez) or city would you choose?
Monterrey with no doubt.
Could you please compare the driving experience (feedback, tire management, setup process) between F1 and IndyCar? Purely from a safety standpoint, would it be feasible to run F1 at Road America?
Of course it would be possible, in my opinion it’s great to have old school tracks, Road America is one of the greatest in the world. The difference of driving is big, IndyCar is heavier and more natural because it doesn’t have power steering like F1 does. That means that there is no assistance and it makes it way more challenging to drive the car on the limit and therefore the driving satisfaction is great. The feedback you get from the steering wheel of everything that happens around the car is also more natural.
How do you design your helmet?
I have a great designer, everything starts from a general concept and my designer works with his creativity.
Did you ever see yourself professionally racing ovals? Saludos desde Puebla
I’ve always been attracted to try, but honestly, I never expected to enjoy racing ovals as much as I did in Iowa.
Hi Guti, so happy see you at IndyCar now to show your skills and abilities and to be competitive in races. Proud see your experience in Iowa test, I like oval races and want you back again in 2018 for a full season of IndyCar, and why not, an IndyCar race in Mexico. The question: any special fitness training for IndyCar different compared to F1, specially for your neck in oval races? Thanks for your time, regards from Brazil.
Training is more based on arm strength since these cars don’t have power steering like F1 does. So I’ve been working hard on that side to get better in IndyCar.
How hard was it to adapt to a Formula E car from Formula 1?
Very difficult, it’s a very different car, it’s somewhere between an open wheel race car and a stock car.
What’s the best piece of racing advice anyone has ever given you?
Competitors are only obstacles, the real competition is between yourself and the race track.
Hello Guti! What are the advantages of left-foot braking? I use my right foot at the moment but I keep being told that I should starting using my left foot instead.
The reaction time and being able to manipulate the car balance when you have to adapt in a race were you have no option to change the setup.
How competitive do you think IndyCar is compared to Formula 1?
Very competitive, both teams and drivers.
You’ve raced in GP2, Formula 1, Formula E and IndyCar now, but which car was the hardest to get used to and set-up?
Every car has it’s own character, but the one which is way different is the Formula E car. It’s another concept of racing car.
What is your favourite track in the world and why? It’s great that you’re in IndyCar now, I think you will do very well!
I don’t have one specifically, but I tend to like street circuits like Monaco, Singapore and I’m sure I will discover many more in the USA.
My son has just started racing go-karts and loves it, but I’m scared I won’t be able to able to pay for his career. What tips do you have for getting sponsorship and building a secure career? Thanks!
Work together with the racing teams to build a better package that offers an additional value to the sponsors. Since your son just started you must make a long-term project with the sponsors that are already involved in racing.
Watching Alonso do so well at the Indy 500 must have got you excited. How well do you think you can do at next year’s Indy 500?
That’s definitely one of my targets!