Esteban Gutiérrez has admitted that the main objective of next week’s Australian Grand Prix is to find out once and for all just what state the brand new Haas F1 Team is in compared with its rivals.
Although the team took part in eight days or pre-season testing, it still has little idea exactly how it will shape up against their more established rivals when they finally take up their place on the starting grid in Melbourne next weekend.
“We need to find out how competitive we are,” the Mexican driver admitted. “Our target is clear: to achieve points. It is quite ambitious as a new team, but that’s what we’re targeting and we’ll work very hard to achieve it.”
“I hope we are as competitive and as good as the car feels, but we need to maximize and optimize what we have,” he said. “The team worked very hard day and night [during testing], it was important to keep focused.
“I love driving it,” Gutiérrez added when asked about his experience of the VF-16 so far. “It’s very enjoyable.
“I’ve had cars in the past which were difficult to fine tune in order to get a good feeling where you can anticipate, where you can push the car to the limit. The VF-16, straight away had a good feeling. As a baseline, that’s always a good sign. It’s a great car.”
Click Here: Tienda Liga Mexicana
Gutiérrez last raced in Melbourne back in 2014 when he was in his second season with Sauber F1. After sitting out last year while serving as a test and development driver for Ferrari, he’s keen to get back to racing and has been refreshing his memories of racing at Albert Park.
“It’s a combination of a street and permanent circuit. It’s a bit bumpy in certain areas. You arrive into turn one, right-hand corner. You have to react very quickly because you have the curb and then straight after you have a left-hand corner which opens up.
“[The chicane] is a very tricky part to arrive and get a good line on entry, because the following straight is long and there’s a section where you arrive into a very high-speed corner, a very high-speed chicane, which is iconic of Melbourne.”
A closer look at the Manor MRT05
Carlos Sainz interview: The most important year, again
Click here for an exclusive Q&A with Honda’s Yusuke Hasegawa
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter
Esteban Gutiérrez, Haas F1 Team