Esteban Gutierrez believes that his work as Ferrari’s reserve driver across the course of the 2015 Formula 1 season has prepared him well for a return to a full-time race role with Haas next year.
Gutierrez left Sauber at the end of 2014 after two years of racing in F1 before slotting into a reserve role at Ferrari where he worked under Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
The Mexican was announced as the second driver for NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas’ eponymous team last month, which will debut in 2016 at the Australian Grand Prix and enjoys a technical partnership with Ferrari.
Despite not starting a race since the end of 2014, Gutierrez is confident that his experience with the Ferrari power unit and work at Maranello over the past year will make him invaluable to Haas during its debut season.
“I believe that I can contribute a lot with my experience, my knowledge of the development of the engine, the gearbox from 2012 to 2013, 2014 when the rules changed dramatically, how it developed from 2014 to 2015,” Gutierrez said.
“I’ve always been driving Ferrari engines so I know all the procedures and everything. I think it’s a very important thing to have.”
Gutierrez thanked Ferrari for its support over the past year and spoke fondly of his time with the team in his reserve role.
“I feel very grateful for this amazing opportunity to be with Ferrari,” Gutierrez said. “It has been a very long season, but at the same time it went by very quickly.
“I have learnt many things from a lot of very good guys in the team, best mechanics, best engineers, two world champions like Sebastian and Kimi, the best team principal, Maurizio [Arrivabene].
“I really want to thank them because they have opened the doors for me to be part of it as a third driver, to contribute as well and to take the most of my experience.
“Now I have a big challenge ahead, that I’m much looking forward to.”