The new Haas F1 Team has confirmed that it has signed Romain Grosjean to spearhead its driver line-up for its maiden Formula 1 season in 2016.
The widely-expected announcement was made at a scheduled press conference at its headquarters in the United States, although its media team did commit the gaffe of publishing the press release confirming the news on the team website an hour before the event started…
Gene Haas’ eponymous squad will become the first new team to join the Formula 1 grid since 2010, and with the team having already secured the use of customer Ferrari engines for its cars, the American had indicated his desire for an experienced driver to headline its line-up.
Grosjean had looked set to stay at Lotus for a fifth successive season, but ongoing concerns over the team’s future and delays in Renault’s buyout plans ultimately tested his patience too long.
“What Gene Haas and everyone at Haas F1 Team is building is impressive, and I’m very proud to be a part of it,” the Frenchman said.
“Formula 1 is incredibly competitive and the only way to succeed is by finding new ways of doing things. This is a new opportunity with a new team that is taking a very different approach to Formula 1. I believe in their approach and they believe in me.”
Haas added: “We wanted an experienced driver capable of developing our car and our race team into one that can score points and better itself each race and each season. We found him in Romain Grosjean.
“I’ve been involved in motorsports for a long time and learned early on the most crucial component is the driver. Romain has strong credentials and he will be an important asset to Haas F1 Team.”
What was surprising was the team’s decision not to confirm the identity of Grosjean’s teammate, who is all but confirmed to be Ferrari test driver Esteban Gutiérrez. A logical time to announce his signing will be in the days leading up to the forthcoming Mexican Grand Prix.
Image via Haas F1 Team