Gutiérrez calls for rethink on unsafe release penalties
3 July 2014 – Sauber driver Esteban Gutiérrez believes that penalties for an unsafe release from a pit stop need to be reconsidered after he was hit with a 10 place grid drop for this weekend's British Grand Prix.
Gutiérrez was released from his first stop in Austria without the front right wheel securely attached, and while he quickly stopped the car he was slapped with the mandatory five second stop/go penalty, along with the grid penalty.
The Mexican believes that penalising a driver for a team error is too severe a sanction.
"I think it's too harsh as in our case the wheel didn't come off the car," he told journalists, including GPUpdate.net. "I felt it straight away and I stopped. It was quite safe and we reacted well to the problem."
"You already lose a lot of time by coming back and having a five second stop and go. Then you have a 10 [place] grid penalty for the following race, which for me is way too much. It's something that needs to be revised. From a driving point of view it was not really my mistake, to be penalised 10 places for the next race is tough.
"I think a five second stop and go was quite already a good penalty, and maybe a fine. You cannot penalise that much the driver when it was not really his problem."
Gutiérrez also says that Sauber, yet to score a point in 2014, is taking risks in order to solve the issues with their recalcitrant C33, with he and team-mate Adrian Sutil set to try different approaches in Friday practice.
"To be honest we are trying different things, trying risks, exploring with the car and taking different set-up approaches, as at the moment we are stuck," he said.
"We don't want to be stuck at this point so we decided to take different approaches. It's not bringing the best consistency but we need to search for a few tenths and close the gap to the people in front.
"Everywhere the car is mixed. We are taking risks but in a controlled way – we're not just closing our eyes and doing things that are crazy! At the moment it cannot be worse, so we can only go for better things. We have to keep working."