Gutierrez: Team integration the biggest challenge for Haas on debut

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Esteban Gutierrez believes that team integration is the biggest challenge facing the new Haas Formula 1 operation as it prepares to make its grand prix debut in Australia this weekend.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will realize a long-running dream on Sunday when Gutierrez and teammate Romain Grosjean line up on the grid in the Haas VF-16 cars for the first time.

Haas enjoyed a strong on-track debut in Barcelona at pre-season testing last month, bucking the trend of the struggles faced by the most recent start-up teams in F1.

However, Gutierrez said that the team is still working on getting all of its operations in line and adapting to functioning in F1, offering the biggest challenge ahead of its debut.

“I think the biggest challenge is to really integrate ourselves as a team, because the flow of communication in general… everything is new, there are a lot procedures that need to be defined,” Gutierrez said.

“I think Barcelona, as a test, was a great experience for the team, a lot of character building. We had some difficult moments, some other good ones and all in all it’s where we need to focus – to be efficient and very dynamic for the development of the following races.”

Gutierrez returns to a full-time race seat after spending a year at Ferrari as a reserve driver, and is relishing the opportunity to go wheel-to-wheel on-track once again.

“I think in general as an experience [Ferrari] helped a lot in my career being able to observe many things from a different perspective,” Gutierrez said.

“[I’m] obviously getting very hungry to get back racing and finally reaching this moment, starting what I love most, to be racing, to be in a race seat.”