Esteban Gutierrez appears to be in pole position to head the new Haas F1 Team driver lineup next year.
According to Autosprint, the Mexican had a “long meeting” with the incoming American team’s owner Gene Haas over the course of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.
Haas, also a Nascar team co-owner, was visiting the Barcelona paddock following reports an internal deadline for the driver decision has been set for September.
It was believed that American Alexander Rossi, the former Marussia and Caterham tester who now races in GP2, was a prime candidate for the North Carolina-based team.
“We’ve obviously spoken with Haas,” Rossi admitted last year.
But another obvious favourite is 23-year-old Gutierrez, the Sauber race driver of 2013 and 2014 who has now taken his Mexican backers to Ferrari.
He attends every race as official reserve driver for Ferrari, who will power and support the Haas outfit from next year.
Haas Automation, Gene Haas’ machine tool company, is also a sponsor of the Maranello based team.
“Gutierrez could be the experienced driver Haas is looking for,” said Autosprint, “while reinforcing the link between the American team and Ferrari.”
Meanwhile, Autosprint also reported that former F1 tyre supplier Michelin could compete with Pirelli in the forthcoming tender process to become the sport’s official partner from 2017.