Gutierrez hopes VF-16 as competitive as it feels

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Haas F1 Team's Esteban Gutierrez says that he hopes the VF-16 proves to be as competitive on the track as it is comfortable to be behind the wheel.

"I feel comfortable, I enjoy driving it," said the 24-year-old former Sauber driver, who will be back in a race seat this season after a year working as a test and development driver for Ferrari in 2015.

"To be honest with you, I hope that it is as competitive as it feels. We have to be very careful with our expectations, we have to work very hard to get our car to the next level.

"It was really important to end up with a good feeling," he added.

"We didn't manage to experiment a lot with the car, but we were able to solve the issues [that came up] and the objectives that we had in the car so that is a good step as a direction and we will try to do our best to be competitive in Melbourne."

One of the things that might work in the favour of the new team is the new qualifying system that has just been ratified by the World Motorsports Council, and which will be a huge unknown for all teams at Melbourne.

"Always a change gives opportunities to take benefit at the beginning to let's see how that goes," acknowledged Gutierrez. "We have to be on top of the game and understand properly the different strategies and try to take advantage of it."

Asked how the drivers had reacted to the news that the controversial new qualifying process would definitely be introduced in time for the first race of the year, Gutierrez laughed: "Well, does it make a difference now?"

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