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Esteban Gutierrez targeting immediate points with Haas

Andrew Hone/Getty Images for Haas

Esteban Gutierrez says Haas has taken on the "ambitious challenge" of immediately scoring points in its debut season.

American outfit Haas joins the grid this season with Ferrari power, a partnership which has led many to predict it can immediately challenge the midfield. The North Carolina team, which also has a UK base in Banbury, made extensive use of Ferrari's wind tunnel and facilities at Maranello to develop its car last year and was not bound by the same aerodynamic testing restrictions as existing teams.

Though team boss Guenther Steiner recently downplayed the lofty expectations attached to the debutants Gutierrez, who will partner Romain Grosjean in 2016, says Haas wants to be challenging for top ten finishes as early as the season opener in Australia on March 20.

"That is our target, from the beginning," Gutierrez is quoted as saying by USA Today. "We want to be there. Obviously, we want to be careful on our expectations. We're working hard to be prepared with the best car possible, but we will not know until the first test.

"From the perspective of a being new team, [scoring points] is an ambitious challenge. But we're here to compete. I think we have done things pretty well so far from team preparation and we want to target that."

Haas recently unveiled the livery of its race trucks for the upcoming season. Last weekend it successfully passed the FIA's mandatory crash tests, meaning it is on schedule for 2016's first winter test on February 22 in Barcelona.