Gutierrez doesn’t blame Haas for early exit


Although he thought he had a second season at Haas in the bag, Esteban Gutierrez doesn’t “really blame” for his early exit.

Gutierrez joined Haas ahead of the 2016 season, stepping up from a Ferrari test driver role into a full-time race-seat.

The move, though, was anything but successful for the Mexican racer.

While his team-mate Romain Grosjean stole the headlines with his flying start to the campaign, Gutierrez’s frustrations began to boil over as he recorded five near-misses with P11 finishes.

The end result was a season without a single point, and Gutierrez left without a drive for 2017.

“Even though it looks very bad from outside, from inside it was a great lesson,” the 25-year-old told CNN. “It was a great experience to build up the team from scratch.

“Even if things didn’t work out the way I wanted, I do feel very grateful with Gene Haas for giving me a year to drive for the team.”

He did, however, believe that a second season at Haas was on the cards.

“That was originally the plan,” he added. “I was too confident of it and that was my mistake, to be too confident that things were taken care of.

“I was focusing on the results and being confident that the project was going to continue forward in the way it was initially spoken of or planned.

“In the end I realised the commitment from the other side wasn’t there and by the time I realized the timing wasn’t great.

“But I don’t really blame them – I don’t blame anybody – because I was the one to be too confident.”

The former Sauber driver, who scored just six points in his two seasons with the Hinwil team, has now signed to race in Formula E where he will make his debut at the Mexico ePrix on April 1.

However, that doesn’t mean that he is done with Formula 1.

“I don’t see myself as unlucky. Formula E is a fresh start, a new opportunity and I’ve found the love of my life.

“We have to see the whole picture of personal and professional combined. I’ve been very lucky.”

He added: “I never close doors. Never, never. I really love Formula One.

“I always want to see a way that I can grow, that there is commitment both from the team and the driver and let’s say, a path I can really make steps forward.

“I got to the point in F1 where I didn’t have that in the short term so that’s why I decided to switch.”