It was announced yesterday that Esteban Gutierrez has finally been confirmed as a Haas Formula 1 driver for the 2016 season.
Ferrari reserve Gutierrez’s appointment has been one of the worst-kept secrets in F1, with the 24-year-old completing Haas’s line-up alongside Romain Grosjean.
In an interview with the media yesterday after being unveiled at the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City alongside team owner Gene Haas, team principal Guenther Steiner, and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Jr, a personal sponsor stated the following:-
‘I feel very, very happy to share this news that took quite a while to be able to share it. I feel very grateful to Gene, who has faith in my potential as a driver and who feels I can contribute, and I feel we can achieve great things.
‘The work we are doing with Haas, Ferrari and Maurizio [Arrivabene, team principal] is giving me an opportunity to be a part of the Ferrari family, For me, every weekend has become longer because I have become more and more anxious to get in the car. I am anxious to return to racing, but this has been one of the most important years of my career, and I am convinced we will have and share huge successes together.’
It is clear that Gutierrez is delighted that he has been signed for Haas for next season and that the team believe in his potential as a driver as well. You can tell that he is looking forward to becoming back to racing next season and using the experience he has gained with Ferrari this year to good use.
Gutierrez who is the 2010 GP3 champion competed in GP2 for two seasons, finishing third in 2012, before being taken on by Sauber in 2013. The campaign proved to be a steep learning curve for Gutierrez as he managed just one points finish, scoring just six points in total compared to the 51 of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
Last season proved to be the worst in Sauber’s history, with neither Gutierrez nor team-mate Adrian Sutil collecting a point and both dropped at the end of the year. But as a result of this, Gutierrez at least secured his role with Ferrari, a link that helped him return to a race seat with Haas, which will use the Scuderia’s power unit and other components from next year.
In his own interview with the media yesterday, Haas stated the following about signing Gutierrez as follows:-
‘We looked very diligently at filling the seat, and the person we chose comes highly recommended by Ferrari. He has of history of racing in F1 in 2013 and ’14 and is currently on the reserve Ferrari list so we we feel he has the potential to add to our team.’
Meanwhile Steiner in his own interview with the media is confident Gutierrez will help make Haas competitive from the off. Steiner stated the following-
‘This team started from zero, nothing, but they are making very good progress, on plan, and we will be there for the first test.
‘Everything is going well, we have daily problems, but we have a lot of good people working for us and the technical partnership with Ferrari is working well. Esteban has experience from Sauber, and then he went to Ferrari and learned even more. With Esteban and Romain we will be competitive in the first year, as good as we can be.’
Even though everything is going well for the Haas F1 team in preparations for the 2016 season, they now have two experienced drivers to lead the team and start their quest to get competitive within the sport as quickly as possible. Even though Gutierrez signing with Haas has been the worst kept secret in the sport, now is the time for him to show what he can do in the car and he has been granted a second chance in the sport which many young drivers do not get and is very lucky to do so.