Report: Haas F1 shortlist down to five drivers

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The shortlist of drivers in the running for a seat with Haas F1 Team in its debut season has been reduced to just five, according to a new report from motorsport.com.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas won the race to join the grid for the 2016 season back in 2014, and has since signed a technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari.

Haas F1 Team will become the 11th team in F1 next April when it makes its debut at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Speculation has been rife about the identity of Haas’ drivers ever since the team was accepted onto the grid, but a decision from Kannapolis appears to be in sight.

According to the report from motorsport.com, the shortlist has now been whittled down to just five drivers, whilst Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez is very likely to secure one of the drives for 2016 thanks to the team’s tie-in with Ferrari.

Gutierrez told MotorSportsTalk last week that his work as a reserve driver with the Italian team was helping to open up “new opportunities”, hinting that a role with Haas could be within reach.

Haas also seemed open to bringing Gutierrez on board, believing that the move would benefit both his team and Ferrari.

“He’s a Ferrari reserve driver, so Ferrari would be interested in seeing how he does and it kind of helps both parties,” Haas is quoted as saying by motorsport.com.

“We get a driver who Ferrari thinks has a lot of potential and we can see how he does too.”

Ferrari development driver Jean-Eric Vergne and American GP2 racer Alexander Rossi are also thought to be in the running for a seat with Haas, whilst the report also claims Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg is on the team’s shortlist.

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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