Haas F1 drop Gutierrez and sign Magnussen – Metro US

Haas F1 drop Gutierrez and sign Magnussen

Haas F1 drop Gutierrez and sign Magnussen
By Alan Baldwin

By Alan Baldwin

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen will race for Haas next season in place of Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, the U.S.-owned Formula One team announced on Friday.

The 24-year-old, currently with Renault, will partner experienced French driver Romain Grosjean.

“From the time we began looking at drivers, Kevin Magnussen was always on our short list,” said team founder and chairman Gene Haas in a statement issued after Brazilian Grand Prix practice.

“He’s accomplished a lot in a very short period of time, and we feel like he can accomplish a lot with us.

“Our second season will bring a new set of challenges, and we feel that pairing Kevin with Romain will help us develop our new car and continue our growth.”

The announcement was expected, with Gutierrez posting a statement on facebook overnight to tell his fans that he was moving on.

The Mexican, who has failed to score this year and finished in the points in only one race in nearly three years of competing, has an uncertain future with only his former team Sauber and Manor yet to confirm their lineups.

Magnussen had told reporters at Interlagos on Thursday that it had been his decision to leave Renault.

“I had an offer, but not a good enough offer that I could take it,” he said. “If they had committed to a longer contract I would probably have looked at that much better, much more seriously.”

A source close to the deal told Reuters earlier in the week that Magnussen had agreed a multi-year contract with Haas, the first U.S.-owned team in Formula One for 30 years.

Grosjean joined Ferrari-powered Haas at the end of last season from Lotus, the team that is now Renault. He has scored 29 points this year, lifting the team to eighth place in the championship.

“A little more than a year ago I made my decision to join Haas F1 Team and it was absolutely the right decision,” said the Frenchman.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)