With Esteban Guiterrez, the talent level for the 2013 Formula One Season rookie crowd moves up a level. Along with Sergio Perez, Mexico and North America now have two formidable drivers on the Grand Prix grid. When was the last time we’ve seen that?
Following two full seasons in karting, Guiterrez made the jump to single seaters in the Formula BMW USA series in2007. His first year in cars was more than successful, taking nine poles, eight podiums and four wins from fourteen races, resulting in a runner-up position in the championship. A move to the European Formula BMW the following year was even better with twelve podiums, seven victories and the season title.
2009 brought a move up the ladder to the Formula Three Euroseries with ART Grand Prix, but with just a couple of podiums as highlights to the season, Esteban could fare no better than 9th at year’s end. Staying on with ART, the young Mexican stepped up again in 2010, this time to GP3, and took his 2nd title on the strength of three poles, nine podiums and five wins. From just four seasons in cars, Guiterrez had finished farther back than 2nd only once.
Following an initial test with them back in 2009, Esteban would step into the ART GP2 team, now renamed Lotus ART, for a full season in 2011. Though he scored a victory in the sprint race at Valencia, the season ended with a 13th place in the standings, Esteban’s poorest showing to date. 2012, however, brought a further three victories and a fine 3rd at the end of the year.
Esteban’s career in Formula One itself dates back some four years. As a prize for having won the ’08 Formula BMW Europa Championship, he was given a test in the BMW F1 car in December of 2009. Towards the end of 2010, Guiterrez was named as Sauber’s test driver, a role which he would retain through the next two full seasons, taking part in numerous young drivers tests, as well as driving in the 2012 Indian Grand Prix Friday practice session.
In November of last year, Guiterrez was announced as a teammate to Nico Hulkenberg at Sauber for the 2013 season. The Swiss outfit finished 6th in the Constructor’s Championship last year with three podiums and points scored by one or both cars in twelve of twenty rounds. Esteban has finished 3rd or better, including two titles, from just six seasons in cars. He will almost surely do his part to help further the team’s progress in F1.