Gutierrez seals return to F1 alongside Grosjean at Haas in 2016

2016 F1 season

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Esteban Gutierrez will return to F1 competition in 2016 after announcing a deal to drive for new American team Haas.

The Mexican driver’s return to F1 was announced today at an event in Mexico City ahead of this weekend’s race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“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,” said team founder Gene Haas. “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 first hand the methodology that makes Ferrari such a power in Formula One.”

Gutierrez spent two seasons with Sauber before being replaced at the end of last season. He subsequently joined Ferrari as a test driver.

He will partner Romain Grosjean, whose place at the team was confirmed last month.

“Gene Haas believes in me and I believe in how he’s going about competing in Formula One, said Gutierrez. “To have a race seat in a competitive car with Ferrari power is very special, and I appreciate the faith he has in me.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “Gutierrez seals return to F1 alongside Grosjean at Haas in 2016”

  1. Long time known just got official. Not a bad line up at all for a new team if you ask me.

    1. I’d have preferred Vergne, he’s a proven fast guy and he could’ve deserved Vettel’s spot as much as Kvyat. Guti isn’t bad but he isn’t good either, IMO.

      1. He’s got a secure seat in Formula E and a car to fight for a championship there. I don’t think Haas had enough to entice him to give F1 a second go even if they could afford to go without a pay driver.

        Even if we presume that Haas will be stable in F1 and that it won’t just loiter around the back of the pack, chances are it won’t break into podium positions with so many big teams around so he’s unlikely to gain any accolades with them. And with so many big prospects amongst the drivers at the moment Vergne’s not likely to have more than a year or two in a big team by the time he ends his motor racing career. That’s if he’s lucky and chances upon a lucky tide in the drivers market.

        1. He’s got a secure seat in Formula E and a car to fight for a championship there.

          Only Buemi and Prost has a car for that.

      2. GUIT, he is young, and maybe with a few more years will be more matured/patient as a driver, so a 2nd chance is in order. I would not have employed GROJEAN – he has had more than enough time in F1 and although his car last year was not great, he still should be doing better in 2015, with Merc. He also makes too many errors as “experienced” driver, spin and placing his car in wrong places. He spent how many years in GP2, before winning. JEV should have got GRO seat

        1. Grosjean has demolished Maldonado for the past two years, and was beating Raikkonen handily by the end of their partnership. The Lotus car is simply no good, he can’t help that. Gutierrez is there for sponsorship, he’s done nothing in F1 to make him a candidate for the drive, and he’s done nothing of note since losing his F1 seat, unlike Grosjean.

          Having said that, it doesn’t really matter who their drivers are for their first year, the team needs time to bed in.

        2. Have you stopped at reading his rankings on wikipedia ? Grosjean won his first gp2 asia. He also interrupted his first gp2 season and won his first full season. He won in the mean time other championships. Grosjean is the real deal and I d be surprised if Guiterrez doesn t get demolished like Maldonado is being now. Plus Grosjean will get to have the privilège of running all FP next year. The only reason he has 10 podiums and no wins is that when he was the class of the field with the right car, he went against Vettel in his 9 race winning streak.

          1. Mind, jev is a great driver too. Guiterez is the anomaly here. (though i liked him in junior formulae)

    2. Goofierrez is a COMPLETE waste of an F1 seat. Hulk demolished him in 2013 by scoring in almost every round where Goofy only scored one 7th place. In 2014 Sutil was much faster but had even more reliability issues in the dismal Sauber and finished ahead on the standings as well.

      Frankly, I presume this is so Haas Automation (which doesn’t do much business in Europe) can sell more machines to Latin America and probably Ferrari too. With any luck this pairing will be for one season only and Haas will demonstrate it’s sincere goal of racing at the sharp end of the grid by signing a driver with merit, not a pimp billionaire’s backing.

  2. Haas are already better off than at least one established team-they have one world class driver and one also-ran. Lotus only has also-rans for 2016

    However I don’t understand Gutierrez’ position. Does he like to suffer? After being utterly humiliated by Hulkenberg and then narrowly beaten by the nearly-starved-himself-cause-the-car-is-overweight Sutil, does he fancy another annihilation, this time by Grosjean? Embarrassing really…

    1. What is not to like… Its an F1 seat… Ask Vandorne how nice it would be to get one.

      1. @jureo Thanks for reminding me, not! If Vandoorne is not on the grid in 2016, yet Gutierrez is, this makes it all the more infuriating

        But, I still have hope Vandoorne will be placed in the Manor team. Him and Werhlein plus Merc engines and Williams gearboxes would be a dream lineup

        1. Yeah, but this never was a reality of F1.. Look at Maldonado… He fumbled in to a briliant victory and is geared for success in Lotus.

          As long as pay drivers exist, drivers who are 10-20Milions slower will not get seats. Also those milions might make a car faster than Vandorne.

          That being said… Having Lewiz Hamilton in team for sure is a net financial benefit, his fame is a magnet for brand value.

          So all drivers bring money to the table.. . Some just bring cash.

      2. @jureo

        Vandoorne isn’t interested in a F1 seat, he turned down a Toro Rosso offer two years ago …

        1. Really? Perhaps then he was interested in McLaren Seat of 2013? I am sure if offered he would take that Toro Rosso seat now. Unless he has some secret McLaren contract…

  3. Well the last couple of 2016 driver announcements have been uninspiring, if commercially explicable.

    Let’s hope Manor come up with some more exciting names (though the imminent departure of Booth, Lowden et al might scare some potential drivers away).

    1. There is so much good driver in the junior ranks (Vandoorne, Rowland, Rosenqvist, Werhlein – all champions in 2015) that yes,

      “the last couple of 2016 driver announcements have been uninspiring”


      We’re in a phase of commercial drivers I do not hold it against them, it’s just they are not best in their business.

  4. I find it very bad that Haas choose Esteban who I thought wasn’t great at all during his Formula 1 career. I would’ve chosen someone like Jean-Eric Vergne who would do better than him. I am just shocked at the choice.

  5. While an economically sensible decision, I hope for Haas that he leaves more of an impression than he did at Sauber. Despite his money, you don’t get hired as a Ferrari tester because of your face, nor did Sauber spend so much resources on him if they hadn’t at least seen some potential. However, his stint in F1 was one that had him either driving around anonymously on places on the bottom end of where you’d reasonably expect a Sauber and not getting any screen time, or getting screen time for incidents. Not Maldonado-type incidents, but to be frank the only time Esteban left a decent impression on me was in Hungary last year, before he had to retire.

    It’s pretty much up to Manor now to surprise us with quality signings, but with Booth and Lowdon possibly out.. I think we might have had a rather boring silly season.

    1. @npf1, Gutierrez did show some potential during the Belgian GP in 2013 as well – he started near the back of the grid due to a botched qualifying session, but his lap times were generally better than Hulkenberg in race trim.

  6. Raise your hand if you didn’t see this coming.

    1. No hands in the air then.

  7. The fact that Vergne looks to not be getting a seat is a disgrace.

    1. I think most F1 fans have a long, long list of driver who they thought would end up in F1 for a long time, but either didn’t make it or exit in a weird way. Vergne is definitely on my list, and I don’t think he’ll have much of a shot for 2017 either.

      Between him, Magnussen, Vandoorne, Frijns, Bird and many others not getting a seat while less exciting drivers like Ericsson, Gutierrez, Palmer, Chilton have been in F1 in recent years, just goes to show that F1 is far from fair. Sadly.

  8. I’d much rather have preferred Vergne. Nothing against Gutierrez personally, but as a driver he is incredibly uninteresting, both slow and not exciting to watch.

  9. I particularly like this quote “I want to thank Haas for believing in my potential as a driver.” I’m sure he does Esteban, I’m sure he does. Surely you have greater potential than the likes of Kevin Magnussen, Stoffl Vandoorne etc. I would hate to be the one to break it to Gutierrez that the only reason they signed him is Ferrari and £€$. He’s an average driver, with average potential, only 2 years F1 experience and not even the number 1 Mexican driver. Greatly uninspiring choice. He’ll get destroyed by Grosjean as he did by Hulkenberg.

  10. The intra-team battle in Haas next year is going to be about as one-sided as Muhammad Ali fighting a small child. If beating his teammate at Haas really is the key for Grosjean to secure a Ferrari seat in 2017, it’s already a done deal.

  11. Exciting news for all of us American F1 fans: one french driver with no personality and a Mexican pay driver.

    Shocking news. Had hoped Rossi would land the drive.

    1. I was hoping Rossi would get it as well. Guttierez is incredibly uninspiring.

      Romain might not have the personality up to your standards, but his skills are way too good to be driving for a rookie US F1 team… so I think they struck gold with him

    2. Yeah…I was hoping for Rossi too, but I do like Grosjean. Romain’s got some serious talent and a smart choice by Haas in my opinion.

      1. Agreed on the talent part for Grosjean, but he seems to bin it under pressure

  12. I wonder who will be featured on next week’s episode of “uninteresting driver signing of the week”.

    1. @craig-o Next week at Manor: We’d like to welcome back Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock!

      1. LOL. Manor could still sign Rossi. and have Stevens alongside him. Or bring back Sato….

        1. @sato113 Stevens/Haryanto?

  13. Have to snigger a bit at those calling Gutierrez uninspiring and advocating for Rossi. Who is even less talented.

    1. That’s hard to say. Gutierrez in 2 midfield cars was absolutely wretched. Rossi hasn’t had that opportunity.

      1. Just based on their previous results in feeder series it is pretty easy to say one is better than the other. Gutierrez was very poor for Sauber I concur but have no reason whatsoever to think Rossi will do any better based on their history and that makes all the people clamouring for Rossi funny, it’s either nationalism or just the desire for ‘new’

        1. I’d rather have fresh blood disappoint than the same old continuing to disappoint.

  14. I wonder if Gene might magically change the lineup if suddenly the 4 drivers from RBR/Toro and 2 from Lotus become “available”?

    Expect more action in the courts before the start of next season :)

  15. Is there a deal with Ferrari behind putting Gutierrez in the car? Or does he bring his own big bag of sponsorship money? I mean why not go for Vergne, Magnussen or Vandoorne?

    1. Pretty sure its a bit of both @patrickl, Gutierrez certainly is bringing sponsorship and the Ferrari connection plays a role too

  16. Gutierrez? Really? The man who scored just 6 points of Sauber’s 57 point tally in 2013? The man who couldn’t outrace Sutil? The man known more for being fired into the air by Maldonado than anything he did on track? I know it was strongly suggested it’d be him but I was hoping it wouldn’t be.

    Obviously there are loads of drivers off the grid that deserve to be in F1, Vergne, Magnussen and Vandoorne just three. If a North American was an absolute need, Rossi’s proving he’s not terrible. But instead they picked a man at the top of nobody’s list. Sure Gutierrez might come back a totally different driver – in fact Haas better hope he does, the original Gutierrez was beige.

    Underwhelming lineup. It’s infuriating to see good drivers squeezed out of F1 – along with the bad ones – but it’s usually only the bad ones that manage to come back.

    1. For now Haas hasn’t earned the right to the good drivers and just needs a convenient one who can be beige all day long. He needs a tester and he found one within the Ferrari fold. Probably very wise for Haas at this stage of his F1 foray. Ferrari’s junior team.

      1. Spot on Adam the most sensible and accurate comment by far. +1
        I always wondered what ferrari saw in him and i hope he has matured into a less beige driver :)

  17. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    31st October 2015, 10:38


  18. Good news for Grosjean at least. Arguably best way to raise your stock as a driver is to have a weak teammate. With Maldonado followed by Gutierrez, he couldn’t have asked for much more. Still, if the car is uncompetitive it will be hard to make much impression on the leading teams.

    1. I think year one or more is going to be about the team finding it’s way. I’m going to assume they will have such a huge learning curve that this will hardly be a year to compare drivers. RG needs to worry more about what he can show in terms of helping develope the team, but sure of course there will be a percentage of people who will forget that and so RG won’t want to be bested, but let’s just start by seeing how many races they can finish. Beating a weak teammate doesn’t get you very far to those who matter inside F1 who can affect your career, if you haven’t contributed much else to progress the team. Both drivers need to keep their cars intact and gather data.,

  19. James Buchanan
    31st October 2015, 12:03

    Gutted its not di resta

  20. I have to admit I didn’t pay much attention to EG but obviously from the comments he isn’t highly thought of at least around here.

    But I think some of you are missing the point. Haas is just starting out and this is not about even expecting he could or would draw the better drivers until he shows something in terms of the cars he will produce and their competitiveness.

    He didn’t want a rookie. He is aligned with Ferrari, and let’s face it Ferrari runs the show. I consider team Haas to be to Ferrari, as STR is to RBR. Haas is Ferrari’s junior team, and that is probably a good place to be.

    Nor is this about RG annihilating EG. It is about building up a team and progressing as soon as possible. EG doesn’t need to be the next LH nor try to or claim to beat RG. He just needs to be a good tester, and I’ll assume he was at least that for Ferrari.

    1. I fear he just has loads of money.

      1. Which is still a good asset for a new team though.

  21. Certainly Magnussen or Vergne would’ve been better choices, but I have a feeling hiring Guitierrez was a condition of Haas’ partnership with Ferrari.

  22. Well go for it… Vandoorne then to Manor?

  23. I remember seeing Gutierrez at Silverstone back in ’08, when Formula BMW was supporting the Grand Prix, and when he dominated the event I was convinced that I had witnessed the birth of a star. He then went on to win the inaugural GP3 championship and then perform solidly in GP2 before being, much to my dismay, thoroughly underwhelming in F1. But I’m still a fan, still a believer that there is heaps of potential there. I really hope he seizes this second chance and finally proves me right.

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