By Alan Baldwin
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican Formula One driver Esteban Gutierrez, who has yet to score a point for the Haas Formula One team in 18 races, indicated on Thursday that he could be on the way out.
“I think Gene (Haas) has been very clear in the media, they want to wait a few races,” he said ahead of his first home grand prix when asked about his plans for 2017.
“Fortunately, we have other options, which we are now considering strongly,” added the former Sauber racer who spent last year as a Ferrari reserve.
“I think it will be important to close something soon, because we cannot risk to just wait a few more races until the end of the season and risk to fall in between two chairs. So we are doing our best and things are looking very good for next season.”
Gene Haas said this month that his team, the first U.S.-owned outfit in the sport for 30 years, could wait until the end of their debut season to finalize the lineup for the next campaign.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who has scored 29 points to lift the team to eighth place overall, looks certain to stay for a second season.
Renault have a vacancy, as do Force India, while Sauber and Manor have yet to confirm their lineups. Williams are widely expected to sign Canadian teenager Lance Stroll to replace retiring Brazilian Felipe Massa.
Gutierrez said he expected a decision within weeks.
Asked whether he would like to become compatriot Sergio Perez’s team mate at Force India, Gutierrez replied: “Yes, why not? It would be fantastic.”
Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson, currently at Sauber, indicated he would also be interested in taking the Force India seat vacated by Renault-bound Nico Hulkenberg.
“I think all the drivers who don’t have a contract for next year are looking at the seat. Obviously Force India is the second best available car at the moment, so it’s definitely an option,” he said.
“But also Sauber is exciting for me looking at next year, because they have a very strong project building. So yes, for me and my management, they are keeping their options open and talking to different teams that have seats left.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)