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.