Mexican single-seater ace Esteban Gutierrez will make his FIA Formula E Championship debut for the TECHEETAH team at his home race in Mexico City on April 1.
The ex-Sauber and Haas F1 driver will remain with the team for the rest of the season, but knows that he faces a steep learning curve joining the unique city street racing series mid-championship. We caught up with him to find out how he’s feeling about the next stage in his career…
Q: What are your thoughts on the concept of Formula E?
A: It’s the future. It’s the future of mobility. I believe the world will shift into that direction and I’m very excited to be part of that new concept. I’m really excited to start racing. Formula E has done a tremendous job from the beginning and I’ve been following it very closely. The team from Formula E have done a fantastic job and I’m now very happy to be part of that team.
Q: What is going to be your biggest challenge?
A: It’s really exciting to see the races. I’ve been following it more and more closely lately, and I think that the biggest challenge will be the battery management, to adapt to the car that’s a completely different concept – full electric – so that’s where I need to put a lot of focus in order to adapt as quick as possible.
Q: What preparation will you have beforehand, will you be able to test the car?
A: Yes, this is the plan. To do a lot of simulator work, and race by race it will be better and better, acquiring all the knowledge I get from those races. Initially, it won’t be very straightforward and simple, I have to take it very professionally with a view to make progress every race and to get up to speed fairly quickly.
Q: Will you be at all the remaining races this season?
A: Yes, this is what we have in the plan, so that’s a fantastic opportunity to get into the championship and get prepared for Season Four.
Q: How has it been having a period where you didn’t know if you would be racing or not?
A: I’ve been in contact with Alejandro [Agag] and Alberto [Longo] for a long time. And we’ve spoken a few times about me joining Formula E in the past and then the right time came and I’m very grateful to them for the interest they had in me joining Formula E and it’s going to be great to work together to make the most of this opportunity.
Q: The first race is your home race, what will you be doing to get your home fans to vote for you in FanBoost?
A: That’s one of the most exciting things about Formula E, that the fans can have a lot of interaction with the drivers. And also this FanBoost concept is really amazing and it’s a fantastic idea.
Q: Starting at Mexico you do have the benefit that it’s a track you are a little bit familiar with…
A: Knowing the circuit and the environment a little bit in Mexico for my first race is quite good. It will be exciting to get to race again in Mexico, so that’s a big thing, and then for the other races we will go from a permanent circuit to a more street circuit style, which is pretty different to what I will have experienced in Mexico. It’s going to be a nice combination and I’m sure I will enjoy it.
Q: You’ll also be on familiar ground for your second race, which will be in Monaco…
A: It’s true. It’s good that I know a little bit about the first two because I don’t know the rest of them at all.