JOINS HAAS FOR 2016: Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez shows his new team jacket during a press conference to announce that he has signed with the Haas team for 2016. Image: AFP / Maria Calls
Mexico City, Mexico - Former Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico will drive for the new US-based Haas team when they make their Formula 1 debut in 2016.
The announcement on Friday, at a press event at Mexico City's Soumaya Museum two days before the Mexican Grand Prix, confirmed the worst-kept secret in F1.
Currently Ferrari's third driver
The 24-year-old will join French driver Romain Grosjean on the team, which is based in Kannapolis, North Carolina.
Gutierrez is currently the third driver at Ferrari, the technical partner of the Haas outfit which is the first America-led F1 team in 30 years.
Team founder Gene Haas said: "I got to know Esteban through our relationship with Ferrari, and after looking at the success he's had to earn his role there, it became clear he was an excellent choice for our race team.
"He's young and hungry, but not inexperienced."
Starts testing in 2016
Haas added: "His two years running a full F1 schedule has given him some very good race experience, and having spent this season at Ferrari as their third driver allowed him to see firsthand the methodology that makes Ferrari such a power in F1."
Gutierrez will get his first drive with the team during the pre-season test February 22-25 2016 at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Gutierrez made his F1 debut with Sauber in 2013, taking a season-best result of seventh in Japan.
He stayed at Sauber the following year, but failed to score a point amid their season-long struggles.