Haas F1 team preparing first driver announcement

Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:08pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - The new U.S.-owned Haas Formula One team, due to debut in 2016, are preparing to reveal their first driver next week with Frenchman Romain Grosjean heavily fancied to switch from troubled Lotus.

Haas, who will use Ferrari engines, scheduled a news conference for a driver announcement next Tuesday Sept. 29 at their Kannapolis, North Carolina, headquarters.

Grosjean and Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, who drove for Swiss-based Sauber in 2013 and 2014 and is now the Ferrari reserve, are seen as frontrunners to race for Formula One's first American team since 1986.

Haas has said his dream lineup would be a driver from the Ferrari squad and another with F1 race experience.

Grosjean, whose British-based Lotus team have severe financial problems but are hoping to be bought by Renault, told reporters at the Japanese Grand Prix he had made his decision but was coy about the details.

"It should be sooner rather than later," he said on Thursday when asked when news might be announced, adding it would probably be next week.

"In my mind, it's done. I'm happy with it. You will know soon.

"You can always change your mind but I think I am pretty pleased with my choice."   Continued...