How Gutierrez fared on 'intense' FE debut

How Gutierrez fared on 'intense' FE debut
By AutoSport

04/04/2017 at 12:51Updated

Ex-Formula 1 driver Esteban Gutierrez described his first Formula E event as "intense" after scoring a point on his debut in Mexico City.

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Gutierrez replaced Ma Qing Hua at Techeetah for the fourth round of the electric single-seater series, but did not get chance to test one of the electric single-seaters prior to his home race.

He only drove the car for the first time in a street demonstration a few days before, but qualified 13th-fastest before penalties elevated him to ninth on the grid.

An undiagnosed problem early in the race caused Gutierrez to drop down the order, but he benefited from a chaotic ePrix to claim 10th late on.

"I would say it was a very intense experience but one which had a good outcome, with a top-10 finish," Gutierrez told Autosport.

"Basically when I started the race I was still learning the car so it was a really challenging experience.

"With the first car there was a problem and a feeling that something that was not correct.

"This was why we lost some positions and it was not too great, but the other car I was able to recover a lot."

Techeetah team principal Mark Preston said Gutierrez had impressed with his first performance.

"Esteban was getting better and better considering he has only in the car since the morning," said Preston.

"He is still getting used to the brakes but his energy management was good and his consumption targets were fine.

"Now we just need to get him used to the car and the intricacies of this type of racing, which is totally new to him of course, but it was an accomplished start."


By Scott Mitchell

Ma failed to score a point in three races alongside Jean-Eric Vergne, who notched his second podium in a row in Mexico, so Gutierrez has already surpassed his predecessor in terms of results.

More encouraging is how much he improved with each session on his debut and how his pace compared to Vergne under the difficult circumstances.

Gutierrez was a second slower than Vergne, and slowest-but-one, in first practice but set the 13th-best time in practice two and matched that position in qualifying, where he was just over half a second slower than Vergne.

The undiagnosed car problem makes his first stint an unfair comparison, but his second was 0.4s a lap on average slower than second-place finisher Vergne's.

Gutierrez's performance compared to Vergne, one of the toughest benchmarks on the Formula E grid, is immediately far superior to Ma's.

The Chinese driver crashed out of the Hong Kong opener on the first lap, but was a second per lap slower than Vergne in both stints in Marrakech and even worse in Buenos Aires, where he was over a second and a half slower throughout.