Former Formula One driver Esteban Gutierrez will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in this weekend’s Chevrolet Detriot Grand Prix. The 25-year-old Mexican driver will drive for Dale Coyne Racing in the place of the injured Sebastien Bourdais.
Bourdais was injured nearly two weeks ago in a horrendous crash during qualifying for the 101st Indianapolis 500. His #18 Honda lost grip whilst running through turn two, with Bourdais’ correction sending the car head on into the barriers at over 200mph. The Frenchman was transferred to hospital where it was determined that he had suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis as well as a broken right hip. It was a testimony to the incredible safety standards in IndyCar these days that these were his only injuries from the horrifying accident.
As a result of these injuries, Bourdais has been sidelined for the remaining races of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series, with Gutierrez named as the replacement for this weekend. Beyond, Gutierrez could remain in the car, but James Davison – who filled in for the Indy 500 – and Oriol Servia are also candidates to substitute.
“I’m excited about my debut races at the Detroit Grand Prix and I cannot wait to start working with the team, engineers and Honda, as well as driving a Dallara car again,” Gutierrez said. “I have very good memories of my successful GP3 and GP2 series seasons with the Dallara cars and I worked very well with them at Haas F1 team. I will do my best for Dale Coyne Racing, Honda and all the Mexican fans.”
Esteban is most well-known for having raced in Formula One with both Sauber and Haas. Despite having shined in his junior formulae career by winning the 2010 GP3 championship and the 2008 Formula BMW European Championship before that, he failed to demonstrate his speed in Formula One; partially down to poor luck and slower cars. His best-recorded finish in his three seasons was seventh in the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix; his only championship points-paying finish in his fifty-nine race starts.
Since leaving Formula One after losing his seat at Haas, Grosjean has set his sights on Formula E. He made his debut at his home race in Mexico City, mid-season, and has also raced in Monaco and Paris. He has scored five points so far and is currently looking at earning a full-time seat for the 2017/2018 championship.
“We’re going to miss having Sebastien in the No. 18 car, but we’re very happy with our choice of a replacement for him this weekend,” said team owner Dale Coyne. “Esteban has a great open-wheel racing background, especially with his time in Formula One and the GP2 series. I think he’ll do well in an Indy car despite the learning curve and we all look forward to seeing what he’ll do this weekend in Detroit.”
This weekend’s Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detriot comprises the seventh and eighth rounds of the 2017 IndyCar Series championship. Two races take place over the course of the weekend, with last year’s races being won by Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power. Esteban Gutierrez will make his debut in practice on Friday.
Featured image courtesy of Haas F1 Team