Question: What are the highlights of Guerrieri’s performance on your team in the last two years?
Sam Schmidt: “Esteban came to SSM with a great deal of experience from Europe and an immense amount of raw talent. That was evident last year with him scoring five pole positions and being a contender in every event, but he didn’t always finish the races. In 2012, the focus was on being more consistent and finishing every event first and foremost, which resulted in very limited damage and great results, which is what every IndyCar team owner is looking for.”
Q: What is Guerrieri’s real talent as a driver and what, in your opinion, are things he will need to improve?
SS: “His raw talent is clearly evident, as well as his ability to protect the equipment while giving 12/10ths. Going forward, he would effectively need to combine his blazing speed in qualifying in 2011 with his ability to finish consistently that he’s developed in 2012.”
Q: Do you feel Esteban’s continuation in Indy Lights is unlikely? Why?
SS: “It is most likely time for him to move up. I believe the new Indy Car is suited to Esteban’s driving style and he would be immediately quick at that level. Plus, he now has the experience required to be successful.”
Q: Guerrieri was able to secure his sponsors and funding for the 2012 season of the Firestone Indy Lights at the last minute, what do you think about that and do you think that this fact impacted him negatively?
SS: “I don’t think so. If it would have been his first year in Indy Lights, perhaps. But since it was his second year, he just picked up where he left off.”
Q: Is there a chance for Guerrieri to be on your 2013 IndyCar team? Have you discussed this already?
SS: “Absolutely. We know he has the talent and would be pleased to bring him up to IndyCar if at all possible.”
Q: If he moves to IndyCar, what do you see his contributions to the team being and would he have a chance to be in the 33 drivers of the Indy 500?
SS: “He would be treated exactly equal to Simon Pagenaud and expected to be competitive pretty quickly. He actually has a great deal more experience on the ovals than Simon, so there is no reason he would not make the Indy 500 and excel.”