Formula 1 - Gutierrez plans cautious F1 debut

Esteban Gutierrez says he wants to build his confidence in his maiden Formula 1 race in Australia later this month rather than pushing for a star debut.

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Sauber F1 drivers Nico Hulkenberg (R) of Germany and Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico walk next to the new C32-Ferrari Formula One car (Reuters)

The 21-year-old Mexican has made finishing the race in Melbourne his primary target.

"The main goal is to complete the full race length," he said. "Being my first F1 race it is important to accomplish this.

"It doesn't make sense to do a 120 per cent risk when you are not fighting for something yet. I am looking to create a good base for my confidence to then push the limits a little bit."

Gutierrez, who conducted qualifying and race simulations at the final Barcelona pre-season test, believes his biggest challenges will be avoiding distractions and getting the best from the Pirelli tyres in qualifying.

"It's my first F1 race and you have all these feelings and thoughts that can come to you at the start of the race," he said. "It's important to keep these feelings aside in order to be focused and be natural.

"In qualifying I think I could improve a little bit, but I will do my best to get up to speed as soon as possible.

"There is a certain tyre management in the new-tyre run where you have to compromise certain sectors. This compromise is one of the things I need to work on and it is completely different to managing a tyre over a long run."

The inaugural GP3 champion and GP2 graduate nevertheless feels he is ready for the start of the season.

"I believe that having a lot of practice pitstops, a race simulation, new-tyre runs and feeling my physical condition in Jerez helped me to work and focus on the most important things," he said.

"Feeling this improvement makes me comfortable. I can say I did my best and now I'm looking forward to Melbourne."

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