Haas F1’s Esteban Gutierrez says leaving his full-time seat at Sauber in order to fill the reserve role at Scuderia Ferrari was one of the biggest risks of his life, Autosport reports.
The 24-year old Mexican spent two seasons with the embattled Sauber team before leaving the Swiss outfit to serve as Ferrari’s reserve driver for 2015. That set him up as the prime candidate for Haas F1’s remaining seat due to its technical partnership with Ferrari, but he at first though he might never race in F1 again.
“I took the biggest risk of my life probably,” Gutierrez told Autosport in a recent interview. “But in life sometimes you need to take those risks and never be afraid. And I was never afraid.”
“I was aware of the risk I was taking, but also the fact I had the opportunity,” he added.
Ferrari helped Gutierrez throughout 2015, laying out clear targets for him to set if he wanted to lock down the Haas drive. He was also able to closely observe Kimi Raikkonnen and Sebastian Vettel during his time there, allowing him to learn from two of the sport’s most talented athletes.
“It was really crucial. It gave me a great opportunity to see things from a different perspective,” he said of the Ferrari reserve seat.
“It allowed me to learn from the best and observe the best – the best engineers, the best drivers in Kimi and Sebastian, the best team principal in Maurizio Arrivabene, who is an amazing person, and all the other great people in the team.”
Gutierrez will return to the Formula 1 grid for the first time since 2014 this March when the 2016 Australian Grand Prix kicks off on March 20th.