Gene Haas has revealed that Esteban Gutierrez is in a good position to make a return to Formula 1 next season with his new American team.
His Haas F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari formed a technical partnership ahead of the teams scheduled debut next season, with Ferrari reserve driver Gutierrez now in prime position to race for the team in 2016 following the news that fellow test driver Jean-Eric Vergne has committed to a second season in the FIA Formula E Championship.
Gutierrez, who raced for the Sauber F1 Team in 2013 and 2014, would bring considerable backing from his Mexican supporters, including from Escuderia Telmex, which is part of Carlos Slim’s enterprise of businesses in his homeland.
“He’s a Ferrari reserve driver, so Ferrari would be interested in seeing how he does and it kind of helps both parties,” said Haas to Motorsport.com.
“We get a driver who Ferrari thinks has a lot of potential and we can see how he does too.”
Haas has revealed that the team are down to a list of around five drivers in with a chance of driving for his team in 2016 including Gutierrez, but admitted he is being forced to wait for established teams to confirm their line-ups before being able to announce his own plans.
“In the next four weeks or so, this month is when the real thought-proving, intense decision-making occurs,” said Haas. “But we’re also actually waiting for the current F1 teams to make their decisions before we will. You never know who’ll become available.
“It seems like the bigger teams are putting in younger and younger drivers, so some of the more experienced drivers might become available.”
“We’re down to five now, I think.”