Esteban Gutierrez is set to be confirmed as Haas F1 Team’s second driver for the 2016 Formula 1 season next Friday ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix.
NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas’ new F1 team will finally hit the grid in 2016 after two years of planning, with current Lotus driver Romain Grosjean set to lead its charge after being announced as its first driver at the end of last month.
Ex-Sauber driver Gutierrez has been the favorite for a seat at Haas for some time given his current reserve driver role with Ferrari – with whom Haas has a technical partnership – and backing from Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex.
Speaking to NBCSN’s Steve Matchett, Haas confirmed once again that the second seat would be given to a Ferrari reserve driver, narrowing the decision down to Gutierrez and colleague Jean-Eric Vergne.
“It’s no secret it will be one of the reserve drivers at Ferrari,” Haas said. “There’s a lot of negotiations going back and forth. We’ll wait until the ink is dry.”
However, speaking to Sky Sports, Haas suggested that the deal was done, saying that there would be an announcement in Mexico City on Friday ahead of Gutierrez’s home event.
“We’re going to make an announcement in Mexico City on Friday night,” Haas said.
“I think you can work that one out.”
Gutierrez spent two years racing in F1 with Sauber, scoring six points in total before joining Ferrari as its reserve driver for 2015.
MONTEREY, Calif – Rinus VeeKay may have won the first race of the weekend’s Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday afternoon, but all all eyes post-race were all on the driver who finished the race in the fourth position.
That driver was Oliver Askew, who by simply starting the 30-lap event at the famed road course won the 2019 series title, along with the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series scholarship that guarantees a minimum of three races next season.
“It’s all sinking in,” Askew told NBC Sports following the race. “I’m really happy to be part of this team. They’re back to back champions now in Indy Lights, and I feel very fortunate to be driving in this car this year.
“This is what we worked for all year. I’m very happy to be in this position and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”
With the championship in Askew’s possession from the get-go, the best VeeKay could do for in race 1 was to win in dominant fashion. He went on to do just so.
After starting the race from the pole position, VeeKay led every lap from start to finish en route to his fifth victory of the season.
“We managed the car well and kept the car consistent throughout the whole race,” VeeKay said. “I got a great car from the team so I want to give a big shout out to them for giving me a winning car.”
Behind VeeKay, Portland race 2 winner Toby Sowery finished the race in the second position, while Robert Megennis finished third.
Live streaming coverage of race two of the Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.
Click here for full race results
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