Haas F1 second driver name leaked



Despite hopes that Gene Haas would recruit an American to drive for his F1 team, sources within Haas F1 have revealed Romain Grosjean’s partner for 2016 will be Esteban Gutierrez. The plan is to make the big announcement at the Mexican GP in just over two weeks, however the current insider briefing may force Haas to make formal the revelation in Austin instead.

Not everyone within the Haas outfit is happy with this decision, yet it was fairly predictable given the close relationship Haas is developing with Ferrari. After losing his F1 drive with Sauber, Ferrari recruited Gutierrez as a test driver, though this was to the surprise of certain commentators who don’t rate the Mexican driver highly.

Haas F1 will most likely spin this appointment as recruiting a North American driver which will irritate further Alexander Rossi supporters who believe his claim for the seat to be more legitimate.

Jean-Eric Vergne was thought to also be a serious contender to partner Grosjean, and his F1 pace was undeniable when compared to Toro Rosso team mate Daniel Riciardo. Yet once again the luck seems to be against the Frenchman. Though Guiterrez instead of Vergne clearly indicates Haas F1 is trading the opportunity to score points for Mexican dollars in the bank, given they need time and results before they are eligible for F1 prize money.

Guitierrez does bring 38 races worth of F1 experience to the party, with a best ever finish of 7th in the 2013 Japanese GP. More importantly, the Mexican also brings around $15m in sponsorship to Haas F1, though which of the Carlos Slim brands will appear on the car is not yet clear.

16 responses to “Haas F1 second driver name leaked

  1. Was Rossi not Esteban’s teammate in Esteban’s GP3 title winning season?
    Just saying.

    Rossi is over hyped, he hasn’t earned the drive by performance, beating Stevens (or being American) can’t be the sole requirement for being an F1 driver now can it?.

    Vandoorne can feel aggrieved, not Rossi.

    • not Rossi bashing btw (that did look agressive as I read it back), I hope he will ‘do a Bottas’ and get a year as test/reserve driver with Haas and demonstrate his worth for a seat in 2017 with Haas,
      I just don’t think he’s earned it yet is all, like many, he’s needed a few years in GP2 to rise up the field.
      Vandoorne on the other hand, does look special, would hate to see him doing a KMag and end up just hanging around.
      So Renault, Vandoorne is your man!!

      • K-Mag will have his best shot at Lotus, lined up with the Danish sponsors. Saxobank just quit cycling to move towards F1.. they’ve also had some other small Danish sponsors on the car recently.
        Prost will want Vergne, but that will depend on Total money and the deal with PDVSA.
        Palmer will have to bank on the strength of his chequebook if he wants to outbid Kevin!
        Stoffel will do the McLaren reserve role, a few tests and then McLaren have a decision to make on him replacing Button for 2017 and the new cars.

    • I don’t think Vandoorne has ever had a chance to get a place at Haas, for that he’s too close to McLaren. Don’t forget, that he’s in his third year of their young driver program now.

      I agree with you about Rossi though. The American is not bad; compared to many mediocre and horrible drivers in GP2, he has at least shown some amount of talent and knows how to behave on the track. Nevertheless, the truly free cockpits in the Formula 1 are rare *) and the GP2 is only one of several viable paths for young drivers to ascend to the top. So why should any team choose a driver like Rossi, who has been driving in some of the most watched Junior Formulas since 2009/10 without placing better than 3rd overall? Things are different this year, but being the best of the rest in a year dominated by Vandoorne can’t be his claim to fame.

      In my opinion, Rossi only has one chance left to have a long-term career in Formula 1, since he’s already in his mid 20s. For that to happen, he needs to first get enough sponsorship money to buy a 2016 seat at Manor Marussia and impress the hell out of everyone. Who knows where the team will stand next year after their upgrade from 2014 Ferrari to 2016 Mercedes engines? If he doesn’t at least smash his team-mate convincingly, he will sooner or later be replaced by another pay-driver who may have bigger pockets.

      *) If you take away all those teams with young driver programs, then an unaffiliated youth only has a chance to get a place at lower tier teams and those places require considerable sponsorship support.

      • If Vandoorne is tied up to a long term contract they may still find it in their hearts/minds to loan him out. Think they’ve lost KMag at this stage as a result of him not being able to race, which is a pity. Racing anywhere beats being a test driver in these no testing (sigh) days of F1.

        Wrt Rossi, to be fair you can only beat whats in front of you. While I’ve not been overly impressed by the crop of junior-bulls and Ferrari’s token PR Italian youth out there for him to beat, he’s not done that convincingly for me . Sirotkin is looking pretty solid relative to the ‘establishment’ rookies as effort goes, but solid is not/should not be enough for F1?

        Marussia would indeed be a solid opportunity next year for any young driver to prove their worth all right, I think they are well aware of the value of the seats they have though, don’t think Mehri has a shout of being there next year somehow. Smashing team mates is the name of the game. Either that or have a spare 15-20 million lying about the place or you’re out.

    • Agreed. Stoffel is in many way more of an exciting talent that I’d love to see on formula one. Not just because I’m Belgian. ..

    • Yes in fact, Esteban had 5 wins, 3 poles and 7 fast laps and Alex Rossi only had 2 win, no oles and no fast laps with exactly the same car.

  2. Rossi Not ready? He has won the last 3 GP2 Races and will finish 2nd to Vadoorne…And if you watch early GP2 races, he lead several but just didn’t come to terms with the odd tire behavior…

    • I do tend to watch GP2, for some reason more entertaining than F1 sadly. Rossi has improved this year no doubt…but its come 3 years in the making. Winning after 3 years against this years crop of rookies/hangers on doesn’t make the same impression on me as someone who can come in and win right away (as Vandoorne did last year). It obviously doesn’t impress most F1 folk either as otherwise Valsecchi, Leimer, Palmer (who all won the championship after multiple goes) would be sitting in racing seats,currently they occupy only the rent-a-test driver spots or Sky microphones. Nasr was the same without the championship to show for it, without the Banco-bucks he wouldn’t be in F1, and he’s disappointed me to be honest. Ericcson is a guy who he really ought be wiping the floor with. He’s not.

      I’ll give you Rossi winning the last 2 feature races, sprints I don’t count (its an award for being poor in the first race)…but going by the I won races in GP2 (sprint) logic Rio Haryanto would be a viable candidate for F1 (and with Pertamina backing he may well be, but certainly not via driving talent alone).

      So like I say, I’m not hammering Rossi, but I’m not going to pretend that placing second to Stoff after all this time and experience in the series makes him the best candidate for an F1 seat. He might make it, but if I had the luxury of running a team and not needing a budget, Vandoorne would be a hands down pick. Its not about being ready, it’s about being the best 🙂

      • You can basically discount two of the three years that he spent with Caterham. They were new team backmarkers in FR3.5 and GP2 as well as F1. In that respect, he’s done a bit of a Grosjean, in that he’s had to recover momentum after being stuck in a back-of-the-grid situation.

        He did it as he got a few FP1s out of it, and F1 experience is invaluable nowadays, although most others would have paid a lot to get all that condensed into 1 year. I agree Vandoorne is the pick this year from GP2, but as runner-up Rossi is not too bad a pick either. Those two are well clear of the rest.

  3. This may have leaked, but announcing a Mexican driver in the US, even in Austin, may not come across too well….

  4. Yep, Gutierrez basically said he was signed to Haas the Saturday before the announcement of Romain.

  5. All this made me think about Robin Frijns. I now hope he marries Victoria Verstappen, or Beitske Visser, so he will have offspring who he can guide and learn, like Jos did with Max.

    I mean it’s still bad that Frijns never got the shot at F1 for being an asshole.

  6. So no one figured out Vergne would never get it because TWO frenchmen driving for a US team would’ve been PR poison for Haas? Not that I agree with the dislike the americans have for the French but it was never going to happen.

  7. Gutierrez was always going to be the guy for Haas and rightly so. They need a Ferrari test driver since most of the car will be made of Ferrari components. It’s just good sense and possibly part of the Ferrari deal. Grosjean will be the talent to get the points. Gutierrez the Ferrari ‘specialist’ will now have a second chance to show a little more talent than he did at Sauber. Let’s see how he’s matured. Good luck to him. An American team begins it’s maiden season with the most experienced North American F1 driver available still in his prime (which rules out J. Villeneuve and M. Andretti). It’s all very sensible. And yes, the sponsorship deal Gutierrez brings has it’s value too.

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