Esteban Gutierrez says Haas right to target points from off in 2016
Mexican believes team have prepared well to make strong start
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 13/01/16 2:19pm
Esteban Gutierrez does not believe Haas are being overly ambitious by targeting points from their very first races in F1 when the 2016 season begins in March.
For the first time since 2010, the grid is bolstered by the arrival of a start-up squad, with Gene Haas's team also representing F1's first American-owned entity in three decades.
Although the first Haas F1 car is yet to turn a wheel, expectations surrounding the team are high owing to their extensive technical partnership with Ferrari and team boss Guenther Steiner told Sky Sports last month they were eyeing a debut points finish at the Australian GP.
Gutierrez, who has joined the team from Ferrari where he served as third driver for a year, acknowledges achieving immediate top-10 results will not be easy, but believes the team are well prepared.
"That is our target, from the beginning," Gutierrez was quoted as saying by USA Today during a visit to North Carolina to visit Haas's main factory. "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."
On Tuesday, the former Sauber driver was given a tour of the team's base in Kannapolis by team boss Steiner, while he was also taken out for lunch by Haas himself.
The team's preparations for 2016 have been ramping up since Christmas, with their car cleared for the start of pre-season testing next month after passing the final FIA crash tests last week.
Haas's freight has also been readied for shipping to Melbourne for the March 20 season-opener, while the team have also tweeted pictures in recent days of the finishing touches being put to their race trucks.
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