Mexican Esteban Gutierrez will race for the new U.S.-owned Haas Formula One team next season after being officially appointed on Friday.
Hass said the 24-year-old Ferrari reserve driver, who raced for Sauber in 2013 and 2014, will join Frenchman Romain Grosjean in the Ferrari-powered team that makes its debut in 2016. The news was entirely expected and seen as Formula One’s worst-kept secret.
“This is an excellent opportunity that builds on my time with Ferrari and I will make the most of it,” Gutierrez said after being presented at Mexico City’s Soumaya Museum.
“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 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,” 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.”
Gutiérrez will get his first drive with Haas F1 Team during the preseason test Feb. 22-25 at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. A second test at Barcelona takes place March 1-4 before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix March 20 in Melbourne.
“This is an excellent opportunity that builds on my time with Ferrari and I will make the most of it,” Gutiérrez 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.”
“All along we said we were looking for experienced drivers, and we have that with Romain and Esteban,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team. “Romain has more starts, but Esteban has a deep knowledge of Ferrari and how they do things.”
“He’s learned from the best in his role as their third driver, which means he knows how they’ve developed their current cars. He’s been a big part of that and he’ll be a big part in the development of our cars at Haas F1 Team.”
Carlos Slim Domit, president of the Telmex-Telcel Racing Team said, “Tonight, we are particularly proud of the Telmex and Telcel Racing Team, not only for Mexican motor racing, but for sport in general in our country.”
“Today, we can confirm the talent and the experience of Esteban Gutiérrez with his continuing career in Formula One as an official driver for Haas F1 Team, with whom we feel very happy to start a new adventure.”