Toto Wolff says Mercedes may have to re-evaluate its reserve driver options after discovering that Esteban Gutierrez would not have been eligible to enter a grand prix.
Mercedes has Gutierrez and Formula E driver Stoffel Vandoorne as its official reserve drivers while as part of an arrangement Racing Point and McLaren can also call upon their services.
Racing Point needed a stand-in for Sergio Perez at the British Grand Prix and had Gutierrez on standby while it reached an agreement with Nico Hulkenberg.
But Mercedes’ Wolff says due to a change in Super Licence rules Gutierrez would have required 300km of running before being allowed to compete.
Gutierrez has not started a Formula 1 race since the 2016 season finale, which marked his last outing for Haas.
“I think Esteban would have been a really strong candidate for the [Racing Point] seat but unfortunately he didn’t qualify,” said Wolff.
“There is a new rule this year that says if you haven’t raced in an Formula 1 car, in an official event, for the last three years, you need to have done a test for at least 300km.
“That is a new rule that came into effect this year which we didn’t particularly look at because we didn’t think that a Formula 1 driver that previously had a strong record wouldn’t qualify for the drive.
“That was the case with Esteban so that is [one reason] why Racing Point opted for the other option – not a bad option – in Nico Hülkenberg.
“We have to analyse now what it means for us, it’s a shame, because giving Esteban a chance is always nice and he has been a strong part of the team and is a strong pillar of the team.
“And obviously I don’t hope that it is ever necessary that we need a reserve driver… but it looks [like] we need to come up with another solution.”
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