Pascal Wehrlein, Esteban Ocon, Felipe Nasr, Dave from the chippy and Steve from accounts have all seemingly been linked to the Force India seat for 2017. In Thursday’s Drivers’ Press Conference ahead of the Mexico Grand Prix, Esteban Gutierrez threw his name into the ring in not-so-subtle fashion.
The Haas incumbent has been under increased scrutiny from his current employers, with Gene Haas earlier stating that he was to delay the announcement of his 2017 line-up. Paddock rumour suggests that the team are unconvinced by Gutierrez’s pointless campaign to date.
However, the Mexican may take himself out of the firing line, as he revealed in the presser that he is exploring other options and would like to have his 2017 plans announced within a fortnight.
The plot thickened when Sergio Perez – confirmed as one of Force India’s drivers for 2017 – was answering a question regarding the qualities he looks for in a teammate. Gutierrez interjected by suggesting, “a Mexican?”
As I said, a not-so-subtle hint at a Force India future. At least Gutierrez gave us something to talk about after a presser for a change.
An all Mexican line-up would potentially work well for the team commercially, given their close association with several Mexican brands. This is a team, don’t forget, who unveiled last year’s car in Mexico City’s Soumaya Museum, with links to the country stretching so deeply into the organisation, that a Mexican buyout has even been rumoured.
Regardless of whether a buyout happens, having two Mexican drivers makes sense. I’d now place Gutierrez at the front of the queue for the second Force India seat. He works from a commercial standpoint, brings some budget and is arguably a better driver than previous favourite for the drive, Felipe Nasr.
Great move for Gutierrez; sensible choice for Force India.