Sebastian Vettel is unlikely to be interested in joining a midfield team, and Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes the four-time world champion would be too expensive to sign regardless.
Ferrari opted against keeping Vettel beyond the end of this season, with Carlos Sainz having been signed to replace the German from 2021 onwards. That move has led to to speculation over where Vettel could end up next should he stay in Formula 1 in an environment where Red Bull has said it is highly unlikely to reunite with the German, and Mercedes is prioritizing Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and its junior drivers.
That leaves Renault as the most competitive seat available, and Steiner says he doesn’t see Vettel being willing to drop any lower down the grid.
“I cannot afford it!” Steiner told Sky Sports. ”I think Sebastian, being a four-time world champion, he doesn’t want to go to the midfield anymore. If you have had a successful career, what you don’t want to do is to take too many risks.
“I’ve got a good relationship with him, but I haven’t phoned him up and offered him a seat. I think somebody else with a lot deeper pockets than me will do that.”
When it was suggested Haas could approach Vettel to test its car in order to gain feedback after struggling last season, Steiner says he sees the benefits but doesn’t think such a deal would be mutually beneficial.
“Absolutely it would be fantastic to do this, but then just getting in a car after six months out of a car and then (having to) make a decision would be very difficult,” he said. “And then also what we have got is there will be very, very few test days next year, so it’s very difficult.
“Testing like the 2022 car – the hybrid car we are building for next year to go testing with the bigger wheels – would be fantastic. But I think it’s difficult to do these things, just jumping in and getting an opinion about it, and I think he would be reluctant to do that as well, because what does it do for him? Not a lot.
“He’s four-time world champion, drove 15 years in Formula 1 and has done it all and won it all, so why would he do that?”