Monisha Kaltenborn insists Sauber won't rush to judge Esteban Gutierrez despite the rookie's slow start to the season.
Taking the step up from test driver to racer, much was expected of the 21-year-old in debut season. However, so far he has failed to deliver.
The Mexican rookie has yet to score a single World Championship point while his best showing on a Saturday afternoon has been a P14.
Added to that, he's already been penalised on one occasion when he hit with a five-grid place penalty for the Bahrain GP for crashing into Adrian Sutil at the previous race in China.
"A lot has to do with the performance of the car," Kaltenborn told Autosport, "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."
The Sauber team boss, though, insists the outfit still believes in Gutierrez, he just needs more time to prove it to the rest of the paddock.
"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.
"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."
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