Born in the city of Monterrey in north-eastern Mexico in 1991, Esteban Gutierrez began his racing career in karts at the tail end of 2004. Over the next couple of seasons the teenager hinted at his potential star quality with numerous victories in his homeland and an impressive car racing test debut in which he matched the Formula Renault 2000 lap record at the Zacatecas circuit.
In 2007 Gutierrez headed north to compete in Formula BMW USA - his first single-seater championship. Despite his limited experience he finished the season second overall in the standings with four wins and rookie of the year honours, as well as nine pole positions out of a possible 14 - a strong indicator of his natural speed. His achievements earned him a test outing with Mexico’s A1GP team.
The following year Gutierrez crossed the Atlantic for another season of Formula BMW, albeit this time in the F1-supporting European series. Making full use of his experience in the category, he swept to championship glory with an impressive seven wins in 16 races. The success earned him a prize drive with BMW-Sauber which, when he took it in 2009, made him the youngest Mexican ever to drive an F1 car.