Mid-Season Review: Sutil vs. Gutierrez


Ahead of F1's return to action at Spa we're taking a look at how the drivers are faring against their team-mates. Next up, struggling Swiss squad Sauber.

Statistically, 2014 has been Sauber's worst F1 season ever. The Swiss squad have never gone this far into the campaign without registering a single point and, given the competitiveness of the midfield pack, breaking their duck will not be easy.

This situation has been made all the worse by the fact that Marussia bagged two points in Monaco, leaving Sauber a lowly 10th in the standings. Their previous worst championship finish is eighth, but that looks likely to be beaten this year.

Should we blame the drivers? Not entirely - both the car and its Ferrari engine are nothing special - but they must shoulder some blame. Had Nico Hulkenberg stayed at the team for 2014, the German would surely have picked up a dozen or so points by now. His quality is sorely missed.

Adrian Sutil: Highest start: 13th. Highest finish: 11th

Sutil is not a bad racing driver by any stretch of the imagination, but it would be fair to say he does not produce excitement. His move to Sauber was greeted with very little interest and the German now seems to be doing his best to continue flying beneath the radar.

He has plenty of F1 experience having contested 120 grands prix, the vast majority at a midfield team, so should be more than capable of leading Sauber forward.

But he has not. They have floundered and he has made more mistakes than a man of his experience should. He has largely looked better than Gutierrez, but that is no great achievement.

Perhaps Sutil is working wonders behind the scenes, but on-track his performances have not impressed.

Esteban Gutierrez: Highest start: 12th. Highest finish: 12th

Gutierrez should not have been thrown into F1 last season. He wasn't ready, but Sauber's Mexican sponsors wanted him in the car following Sergio Perez's defection to McLaren. A season of errors and being schooled by Hulkenberg followed.

And he's not really improved this year. He has struggled badly in qualifying and threw away the team's best shot at points in Monaco. If anything, he may have slipped back.

In fact, did he not have so much backing, Gutierrez would probably have been dropped by now. As it is, that money will probably keep him at the team next year; hopefully he'll have worked out what he's doing by then.

In fairness to Esteban, he is still young and his junior record suggests there is talent there. But he's not on the same level as Hulkenberg, nor countryman Perez, making him a distinctly uninspiring member of the F1 grid - rather like Sutil.

VERDICT: A no-score draw. Neither driver deserves to be called a winner at this stage.