SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Haas Formula One team are hoping to announce their 2017 driver lineup within days after reports that Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen is set to join from Renault in place of Mexican Esteban Gutierrez.
“Hopefully we will announce something this weekend,” team principal Guenther Steiner told reporters at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Thursday.
“There are still a few things we have to talk with people about and then we will announce who our (second) driver will be,” he added.
“It is the little work when you get close to a deal. It’s the same when you buy a car. In the end you want a free carpet or something new. We are at that stage at the moment.”
Magnussen, who has agreed a multi-year contract with the U.S.-owned team, according to a source close to the deal, was coy about pre-empting any announcement but left little doubt that he was heading to the Ferrari-powered newcomers as team mate to Frenchman Romain Grosjean.
He said it had been his decision to leave Renault.
”I had an offer (from Renault), 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.
”It was more the feeling of them not really committing and taking so long, and offering the drive to so many drivers. I think at one time the Pope had an offer,“ he joked. ”It was a bit messy so it’s better for me to leave.
“I‘m looking for a place for me to excel and prove my worth and do a good job and have a good time. And I think I can have that... next year.”
Gutierrez, whose options for staying on the starting grid now seem extremely limited, with only Mercedes-powered Manor having a clear vacancy, said his future was out of his hands but he would keep pushing.
“It’s very clear that the decision will be made very soon,” he said.
“Concerned? Yes and no,” he added. “Whatever the outcome is, nothing will change (me) as a person. Nobody is dying. That’s the most important thing.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris