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Biography

SEASON INFORMATION
15/08/2013

 

Biography

 
Between 2004 and 2006, Esteban enjoyed success in karting, mostly Rotax Max, winning the North Mexican Series in 2006 and finishing fourth overall in the Mexican Grand Nationals in Zacatecas that same year. He also won the Camkart Challenge Mexico, taking five wins from five races.

At the end of 2006 he tested a Formula Renault car and that was enough to convince him to make the move up to Formula BMW USA the following year. In that debut season he finished second overall (to Daniel Morad) taking four wins, nine poles and the 'rookie of the year' award.

As well as a test in the A1 GP car, 2007 also saw Esteban take part in two rounds of the Formula BMW Germany series and the Formula BMW World Final, in which he finished 25th.

In 2008, he dominated the Formula BMW Europe series, taking seven wins from sixteen races, while also finishing third in the Formula BMW World Final which was held in Mexico. The youngster even found time to take part in two rounds of the German F3 Championship (Oschersleben) and the Formula Master Series (Imola). At season end he also had a test for the Formula 3 Euroseries.

Unsurprisingly, he contested the 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries, with ART Grand Prix, while also dabbling in British F3 (four races) and finishing seventeenth in the Masters of Formula 3 at Zolder.

As part of his prize for winning the 2008 Formula BMW Europe series, in December 2009 he was given a test in the BMW-Sauber F1 car, even though the German manufacturer has already announced its decision to leave the sport.

For 2010, he chose to contest the inaugural GP3 Championship with ART Grand Prix, winning the series with two races to spare courtesy of pole position at Monza.

Clearly impressed with the youngster following his test in December 2009, in 2010 Esteban was put on the same training programme by Sauber as its F1 drivers, Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi.

In September 2010, having just won the GP3 Championship, Esteban was named as the Swiss team's test and reserve driver for 2011. In November he took part in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, finishing thirteenth overall.

Esteban moved up to the GP2 Series with ART for 2011, partnering Ferrari test and reserve driver Jules Bianchi, the pair also contesting the GP2 Asia series for the team.

Finishing eleventh in the Asia series, his best result being fourth in the Imola Sprint Race - both Bahrain rounds having been cancelled - in the main series he finished thirteenth, the highlight being a win in Valencia and a second in Hungary.

In November, he took part in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi once again, finishing sixth quickest one day and again the next, ending the test seventh quickest overall.

Earlier in the season, Sauber confirmed that Esteban would continue his role as test and reserve driver in 2012, the youngster having been passed over - in favour of de la Rosa - when Sergio Perez withdrew from the Monaco event a few weeks earlier.

Wins at Valencia, Silverstone and Hungary, together with four further podium finishes, saw Esteban finish third in the GP2 Series, the youngster now with Lotus GP, previously known as ART, the French outfit run by Frederic Vasseur and Nicolas Todt.

Although he finished third in the title fight, he finished some way behind Davide Valsecchi and runner-up Luiz Razia, whilst under increasing pressure from Max Chilton and his Lotus GP teammate James Calado. Indeed, a number of nightmare weekends, such as Belgium, led many to describe his year as hit and miss.

At the Indian Grand Prix, in October, Esteban participated in the Friday free practice session, replacing Perez who had been taken unwell. The youngster recorded the 20th best time of the session.

In action for two days of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, Esteban posted the fourth best time overall, just 0.442s off the best time. A couple of weeks later, the youngster was named as Sauber's second driver for the 2013 season, as the Swiss outfit opted for an all-new line-up which would include Nico Hulkenberg.

Looking far younger than his age (21), it will be interesting to see if Esteban is ready for F1, and Sauber has discovered another wonderkid, or whether he's made the move up just a little too early. The feeling at Pitpass is that he should have remained in GP2 for one more year.

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