Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has revealed that the rules concerning the super license deprived Esteban Gutierrez of stepping in for Sergio Perez at last weekend’s British Grand Prix.
Racing Point driver Sergio Perez experienced the worst scenario that could happen to a race driver in these current coronavirus-affected times after he had tested positive for the novel Covid-19 coronavirus. His SIlverstone-based outfit had to quickly find a replacement for the Mexican driver.
The small team did not just take inspiration from Mercedes when designing its 2020 F1 car and purchased its power unit and gearbox, but it also has an agreement with Fomula One's dominant team that states that the Brackley-based outfit’s reserve drivers are officially regarded as the third drivers for Racing Point. Mercedes has two reserve drivers for 2020 with Esteban Gutierrez and Stoffel Vandoorne fulfilling this role.
The Belgian was not available due to his Formula E commitment which made the Mexican number one candidate for the vacant seat. However, Racing Point preferred Nico Hülkenberg instead of Gutierrez as the German was believed to adopt quicker to the team for which he drove for four years.
Toto Wolff has revealed that a sporting rule would have made it impossible for the Mexican to substitute Perez even if Racing Point had considered the Monterrey-born as the best choice.
''Esteban would have been a great candidate for the seat, but he didn't meet the requirements. There is a new rule that after three years of not racing in an official event, a driver does not regain his license until he does a 300 kilometre test'', Toto Wolff said to Racefans.net.
Wolff said that Mercedes might provide Gutierrez with a test opportunity to help him receive his super license.
''We didn't specifically look at this new rule because we assumed that a driver with such a track record would be allowed to come into action. We can give Gutierrez that test, but not before next weekend. So we'll see how we solve this, because it's a shame that Gutierrez missed this opportunity. Of course, I never hope that we need a spare driver, but we need a solution to this'', concludes the team boss of Mercedes.