The Haas F1 Team have confirmed their line-up for their debut season next year with Esteban Gutierrez announced as their second driver.
After revealing at the end of September that Lotus’ Romain Grosjean would be their “lead driver” in 2016, team owner Gene Haas told reporters at the United States Grand Prix that they would confirm their second driver in Mexico City this weekend.
And the American-based outfit made it official on Friday evening.
“I got to know Esteban through our relationship with Ferrari, and after looking at the success he’s had to earn his role there, it became clear he was an excellent choice for our race team,” team chairman Gene Haas said.
“He’s young and hungry, but not inexperienced. His two years running a full F1 schedule has given him some very good race experience, and having spent this season at Ferrari as their third driver allowed him to see firsthand the methodology that makes Ferrari such a power in Formula One.
“We’re very happy to have Esteban as a part of our race team. Between him and Romain, we have a strong driver lineup that will help us develop our car and, ultimately, score some points in our inaugural season.”
It had been an open secret for several months that Gutierrez received the nod with the Mexican returning to the grid after sitting out the 2016 season.
The 24-year-old, who won the 2010 GP3 Series, made his Formula 1 debut with Sauber in 2012 as a test driver before being given a race seat the following season. He also competed for the Hinwil-based squad last year before being dropped.
He spent the 2015 season as Ferrari’s test and reserve driver, but will race alongside Grosjean at Haas F1 next year.
Gutierrez revealed his delight at securing a return to the grid, and expressed confidence that Haas F1 would be a force to be reckoned with.
“This is an excellent opportunity that builds on my time with Ferrari and I will make the most of it,” Gutierrez said.
“Gene Haas believes in me and I believe in how he’s going about competing in Formula One. To have a race seat in a competitive car with Ferrari power is very special, and I appreciate the faith he has in me. I trust we’ll be able to achieve great things together.”