Mercedes has no firm plans to let Gutierrez get F1 race licence

The Mercedes Formula 1 team has no definite plans to give Esteban Gutierrez track mileage in the near future, despite a new rule for 2020 making the Mexican ineligible for an FIA super licence unless he has conducted a test.

Mercedes has no firm plans to let Gutierrez get F1 race licence

Along with Stoffel Vandoorne, Gutierrez has been named as a reserve driver for the Mercedes, McLaren and Racing Point teams.

However a change to the super licence rules outlined in the FIA’s International Sporting Code specifies that drivers who have not raced in F1 for three seasons have to do 300kms of running to re-qualify for a super licence.

Gutierrez last raced with Haas in 2016, while Vandoorne is eligible as he drove for McLaren in 2018.

Regarding drivers who held a licence over three years ago the rule states: “In this case, the driver must be judged by the FIA to have recently and consistently demonstrated outstanding ability in single-seater formula cars.

“The F1 Team concerned must show that the applicant has driven at least 300kms in a representative F1 car consistently at racing speeds, over a maximum period of two days and completed not more than 180 days prior to the application, either certified by the ASN of the country in which the test took place or during an event counting towards the FIA Formula One World Championship for Drivers.”

Vandoorne is committed to Formula E in Berlin for the 70th Anniversary weekend, but thereafter he will be available to be the primary reserve for Mercedes.

The Brackley team has indicated that Gutierrez won’t have a chance to log the necessary mileage by replacing one of its race drivers on a race weekend Friday.

It is looking for an opportunity to give him a run, potentially in its 2018 car, as used by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for pre-season running at Silverstone. However no date has been scheduled as yet.

The sporting regulations also contain the provision for a driver who hasn’t raced for two years to conduct a day of testing in a current car, but only after he has been nominated to replace a race driver, which means it is not a last minute option. If a driver does such a test and then doesn’t race the team is docked a day of testing the following season.

Read Also:

Gutierrez’s current ineligibility meant that when Sergio Perez tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the British GP Racing Point had no option but to look elsewhere when it settled on Nico Hulkenberg.

“I think Esteban would have been a really strong candidate for the seat," said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. “But unfortunately he didn’t qualify. There is a new rule this year that if you haven’t raced in an F1 car in an official event for the last three years, you need to have done a test of at least 300km.

“That is a new rule that came into effect this year, which we didn’t particularly look at, because we didn’t think that a F1 driver that previously had a strong record wouldn’t qualify for the drive, but that was the case with Esteban, and therefore Racing Point opted for the other option. It wasn’t a bad option at all, for Nico Hulkenberg.

“We have to analyse now what it means for us. It’s a shame, because giving Esteban a chance is always nice, and he’s been a strong part of the team and a strong pillar of the team. Obviously I don’t hope that it’s ever necessary that we need a reserve driver. If we would have given him the chance. As it looks, we need to come up with another solution.”

Both Vandoorne and Gutierrez have had seating fittings at McLaren, and driven the current car in the Woking simulator, in case they have to be called upon. Team principal Andreas Seidl played down the fact that Gutierrez is not currently available.

“We are obviously aware about the situation,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com. “But in the end it's not something we are too focused on at the moment. If the situation comes that we need a reserve driver, I'm sure that we will find a solution.”

shares
comments

Related video

Kubica returns to Alfa Romeo cockpit for Silverstone FP1

Previous article

Kubica returns to Alfa Romeo cockpit for Silverstone FP1

Next article

British GP: All the F1 winners since 1950

British GP: All the F1 winners since 1950
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Prime

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee.

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021