Haas Formula 1 chief Guenther Steiner plans to retain Romain Grosjean for the 2017 season following the Frenchman’s impressive debut campaign with the team.
NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous F1 operation onto the grid for 2016, signing Grosjean from Lotus and former Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez, who arrived after spending a year with Ferrari in a reserve role.
Grosjean has led Haas’ charge throughout its debut season, scoring all 28 of its points so far and recording a best finish of fifth in Bahrain.
Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference, Steiner said that Grosjean had delivered all that was expected of him before confirming the team’s plans to stick with him for 2017.
“We got everything that we expected, what we hoped to get. He took us along very good,” Steiner said.
“He’s got quite a lot of points for a new team, he got them for us, so I think he delivered what he had to deliver.
“Our plans are to continue with him for next year, so I think we are pretty happy and we want to continue.”
Grosjean’s teammate Gutierrez has remained coy about his future, confirming that he will be racing in F1 next year but refusing to define where.
The Mexican driver is yet to score a point for Haas in F1, enduring a top-10 drought dating back to the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix.
Nevertheless, Steiner is pleased with Gutierrez’s efforts, saying in Friday’s FIA press conference that the Mexican has taken the brunt of Haas’ bad luck in 2016.
“I think it was a little bit of a rocky start for him and not only down to him. When we had an issue with the car it normally was with his car,” Steiner said.
“He had the accident in Australia with Alonso running into him. There seems very few times he had an ‘eventless’, if you can say, race weekend. I think he has developed and matured.
“Having been in F1 and then out of it for a year, I would say that makes it more difficult than coming in new, because he had been with Ferrari as their reserve or development driver, so he has seen a lot of stuff and then he comes in and has to race again.
“Also, the competition against Romain, which is not a bad driver, he’s good, and trying to do better than him is quite difficult, so maybe he put himself under a little bit too much pressure in the beginning.
“But all in all I think he’s doing a good job in the moment.”