Gutierrez working hard to get back on F1 grid in 2016 as Haas speculation continues

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Esteban Gutierrez believes that his work in a reserve role with Ferrari in 2015 is helping to open up new opportunities within Formula 1 as he goes in search of a race seat for next season.

Gutierrez joined Ferrari as a reserve driver at the beginning of the season following two years in F1 with Sauber that saw him score six points.

The Mexican driver has supported full-time drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen throughout the season, and got the chance to test the SF15-T car in Spain and Austria earlier this year.

Gutierrez has been linked with a seat at Haas F1 Team for its debut season in 2016 after the American outfit agreed a technical partnership with Ferrari.

Speaking in a conference call on Thursday, Gutierrez explained how his work with Ferrari is helping to open up some new opportunities that he hopes to consolidate for 2016.

“It would mean a lot [to get a full-time race seat],” Gutierrez said. “I came to Ferrari as a third driver with a purpose and with a vision. Obviously I took quite a big risk, because stepping down from a race seat is always a risk to take.

“First of all, it’s not easy to get into Formula 1, and secondly it’s not easy to be out and then in again. This is a risk that was taken with a vision and with a project in front.

“Thankfully, things have been going very well with my relationship with Scuderia Ferrari, and I’m very happy with how things have been going.

“I’ve been trying to contribute a lot to them, and it’s opening new opportunities for me in the future. I’m working very hard to consolidate that for next season.”

Gutierrez also revealed that Ferrari remains keen on giving him a practice run-out at his home race in Mexico this November, but that the decision is largely dependent on its championship chances.

“It’s not confirmed,” Gutierrez said. “Ferrari wants to give me the opportunity. I think it would be something very special, but obviously it depends on many things.

“As my boss, Mauricio Arrivabene, has already mentioned that possibility. I think it would basically depend on how things are going on in the championship at that stage in the [season].”