Esteban Gutierrez says he feels ready to tackle Haas F1 Team’s “ambitious challenge” of scoring points during the newcomers’ maiden season.
The American outfit announced last week that its first car had passed the mandatory FIA crash tests and is now focussed on preparing next month’s opening pre-season test in Barcelona.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner recently declared that the latest F1 entrants were ‘not here to be last’ and targeting Q2 and a top-10 finish as early as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Gutierrez, who will partner ex-Lotus driver Romain Grosjean in 2016, took the opportunity of visiting his team’s Kannapolis facilities this week to tell US media that he shares the same goals.
“That is our target, from the beginning,” the Mexican is quoted as saying by USA Today when asked about Steiner’s objectives. “We want to be there. Obviously, we want to be careful on our expectations. We’re working hard to be prepared with the best car possible, but we will not know until the first test.
“From the perspective of a being new team, [scoring points] is an ambitious challenge. But we’re here to compete. I think we have done things pretty well so far from team preparation and we want to target that.”
The previous generation of F1 newcomers, which comprised HRT, Caterham and Virgin (now Manor) in 2010, have combined for a total of only two points, courtesy of the late Jules Bianchi’s ninth-place finish at Monaco in 2014.
Across his two seasons at Sauber, Gutierrez only finished once in the top 10 when he claimed seventh at the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix.