Gene Haas plays down importance of F1 reserve driver

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Gene Haas is unlikely to sign a reserve driver for his Formula 1 team ahead of its debut racing season in 2016.

NASCAR team co-owner Haas has spent much of the past two years planning his team’s entry into F1, and will finally see his cars on track racing for the first time in Australia this March.

Romain Grosjean is set to lead the team after leaving Lotus, while Esteban Gutierrez returns to a full-time race seat after spending a year in a reserve role at Ferrari.

Although the race seats have been filled, a number of drivers have been linked to a possible reserve role at the team.

However, speaking to Sports Business Daily, Haas said that he saw little need for a reserve driver, and that if he needed one it would likely come from technical partner Ferrari.

“We don’t have a reserve driver at the moment,” Haas said. “If we can find a common reserve driver with Ferrari or someone that would probably be the best way to do that.

“With the safety there is today you generally speaking need a reserve driver just for sickness or some other emergency. The need for a reserve driver probably isn’t as important as you think.

“We don’t typically have reserve drivers in NASCAR either.”

One name linked with the Haas reserve role in Monegasque youngster Charles Leclerc, who is set to join the Ferrari Driver Academy in the near future.

Looking ahead to his team’s debut season in the sport, Haas said that he expects to make many mistakes and learn from trial and error.

“It will be a building experience,” Haas said. “We are going to this party without really knowing what it’s like. We can sit there and watch what other people do but there’s nothing like being there. That’s going to be the experience.

“I think we are prepared, I think we will do well at it but you have to really be there to learn it. All the reading you can do and talking to other people, the challenge is being able to do it. I’m sure we will make tons of mistakes, correct those mistakes and be better prepared for each race.

“After we are done with those 21 races, we will have a whole year behind us and our notebook will be full of what we need to know. And we will do better after that.”