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Gutierrez relaxed ahead of F1 debut

Mar 8, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

F1 Testing in Barcelona - Day Three Getty Images

Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez feels relaxed ahead of his Formula One debut at the Australian Grand Prix in just over one week’s time.

“Competing in a Formula One race is the next step in my career, and that’s what I need to focus on. One of the things that I need to do is feel natural and relaxed in my surroundings so I can focus on the most important elements during the weekend.

“I feel I have a good base for the start of the season, but, of course, I will keep on working as I have areas where I can improve. My goal is to exploit the car’s potential and finish consistently within the points.”

Gutierrez’s debut will come after a strong showing in GP2 last season, and following the departure of compatriot Sergio Perez to McLaren, the Mexican driver was given the opportunity to claim a full-time race seat in 2013. Despite a poor showing in his Friday practice run-out in India last season, Gutierrez  told the official Formula One website that he feels ready for the race in Australia.

“Melbourne will be my first race in F1 and I’m sure it will be very special. It’s a track that I don’t know, but I’m confident I will be able to learn it quickly in the free practice sessions.

Although Sauber were rarely on the pace in testing, head of track engineering Tom McCullough was happy with the team’s progress.

“Nico [Hulkenberg] and Esteban have quickly settled into their new working environment and have already established strong working relationships within the team, which is very important. You never know exactly where you sit compared to the other teams during winter testing, but importantly the C32 has performed as expected which is encouraging.”

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