Haas F1 Team owner Gene Haas confirmed yesterday that either Jean Eric Vergne or Esteban Gutierrez will take the wheel of one his cars for the team’s F1 debut next season. Speculation had long been rife that either Vergne of Gutierrez would be placed in the team due to Haas’ technical partnership with Ferrari which see’s them have access to the Scuderias wind tunnel, engine and all “non listed” parts.
Team boss Haas told Autosport, “Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we’ll have something to say. One of the drivers will be a Ferrari reserve driver and we’re still looking for an experienced Formula 1 driver, a current driver. No rookies.”
Haas have been searching for drivers with previous F1 experience to lead their debut campaign and Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg was thought to be on their 10 man shortlist before he announced a new deal with the team. McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen have also been rumoured to be on Haas’ shortlist for the second seat however Button finishing his career at the new outfit seems an unlikely scenario, Magnussen is a more realistic possibility
Whilst previously mooted that Haas would look to assign their second race seat to an American driver, most likely Alexander Rossi, team principal Guenther Steiner said that prospect is now “unlikely, because there is no-one out there”.
Haas F1 will make their F1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix on April 3rd 2016, the first race of the new 2016 season.