By Rosa Elena Torres | Haas F1 Team driver Esteban Gutiérrez talks to us about his team, the changes he would like to see in the sport and the racing fans of the world.
Being in your third team in Formula 1 and second one as a full-time driver, what is your perspective on this season since you’re in a different situation compared to the one in Sauber?
Yes, this is a very different situation because in Sauber there were a lot of troubles around the sporting side and Haas F1 is a completely new and growing team with many projects. That’s a feature that changes a lot the philosophy and the way of working inside a Formula 1 team. It’s been a great experience building Haas F1 from scratch. I think everyone here is doing great as a team and that will only bring more benefits for the future.
As a driver, do you feel the role of creative marketing projects, social media initiatives, fun videos, showruns, etc. is growing and it’s changing the face of Formula 1?
Yes, definitely it has changed Formula 1 because the approach is totally different. The sport has to adapt to the new tendencies to share the sport with people, making great efforts to do so. That shows that we have great platforms to share with our fans in a more direct way. That’s changing not only the Formula 1 world, but the marketing world as well. I think this is only the beginning, since the growth is being exponential as time pass by.
Being a Formula 1 driver I feel the commitment to support new generations.
Do you see any elements in other racing series that Formula 1 could learn from?
I think so. It’s simply an adaptation process. I think Formula 1 took a little bit more time than it should to react and start using social media. Now they are doing great and things are getting better with new ways to share the races and highlights. Also – as the drivers – we have to contribute to all of this.
What would you change in this sport if you ran it?
I would change the cars a little bit, they need to look better aesthetically, with more mechanical grip for the drivers to enjoy the tyres to the fullest. It’s something that I think is going to improve with the new regulations and through the years. Formula 1 needs to keep being the attractive sport that it’s always been, so we all need to make some adjustments for that to happen.
In your opinion, what would it take to make Formula 1 big in the Americas and Asia?
The example of having an American team obviously attracts a lot of people in the Americas. I think these kind of things like having races and the interaction through social media are helping Formula 1 to grow in different markets.
In the case of Asia, I believe it’s quite different. Asia has a strong market, and the fact that there is a lack of more Asian drivers doesn’t help Formula 1 to be bigger there. There are places such as Japan where we have lots of fantastic, sincere followers even there’s no Japanese driver currently racing in Formula 1 – this tells us a lot about the potential of this country.
When you’re visiting other continents, do you see a difference in racing fans compared to Mexicans?
In Europe the fans are quite traditional, they have been attending and watching the races for many years. Asians mostly still see it as kind of a novelty, it has only been around the last 10-15 years. I think the support of people in Mexico helped very much to have an unbelievable Grand Prix last year. Now it’s important that we – Mexicans – take advantage of this trend to improve internally and consolidate motor racing with better tracks, better series and better teams.
Do you see a lot of racing talent back home that could one day find their way into Formula 1?
Yes, the interest has been growing due to our involvement in the sport. Being a Formula 1 driver I feel the commitment to support new generations and I’m happy to do so because one of my goals always has been to have a racing team with my friends Gerardo and David Martinez. Now we’re enjoying that (in Mexican Formula 4). We’re trying to set a reference of a team with a European standard, a team of the highest level for new drivers and Mexican drivers.
Is there a location where you’d like Formula 1 to go next in 2017?
I strongly believe that a race in California would be a lot of fun.