Ferrari’s newly-appointed reserve driver Esteban Gutiérrez was thrown into Formula 1 too young and has paid the price as Sauber dropped him after three seasons, Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has claimed.

A former GP3 Series champion, the Mexican driver made Friday practice debut with the Swiss team in 2012 before making his full-time race debut in 2013, but he and his experienced teammate Adrian Sutil were dropped at the end of the 2014 campaign in favor of Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr and Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson, both of whom bring substantial funding to the financially struggling team. Gutiérrez’s sole points finish of his F1 career came at the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix, where he placed seventh.

Last week, however, Gutiérrez was named Ferrari’s test and reserve driver and Arrivabene said the Italian team can help him prove his worth.

“He is a driver that made his debut in F1 too soon,” he said of the now-23-year-old, who also brought his Mexican backers, telecommunications giant América Móvil, to the team’s sponsorship roster.

“Talented drivers must not be thrown on to the scene too early. I am sure he is talented and will have a chance to show it,” added Arrivabene.

Image via XPB Images

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Blaž Štremfelj

Journalist at MotorsportM8