Haas has yet to make a final decision on its new drivers despite releasing Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.
The two experienced drivers are both out of contract at the end of this season and won’t be retained, bringing an end to their four-year spell as teammates at Haas. Despite the announcement, Steiner says their replacements have not been finalized and the team is still evaluating all of its options, even if it has honed in on specific targets.
“Why the decision? That is what we decided,” Steiner said. “We wanted to be fair to them — we could have kept that for us for a while and then just do it but I think the guys were good with us for the last (few) years so we said we’re going to do some changes and therefore we wanted to tell them so they have the chance to find something else. If we tell them only whenever we decide who is going to drive the car, maybe end of the year, they would have less of a chance to find something to drive next year.
“We are down to a lot less people now, but I don’t want to speak about names, numbers anymore, if I can just ask for a little bit patience.”
Steiner admits there are some outside factors at play, such as who Ferrari might want to promote to Formula 1 from its driver academy, with Mick Schumacher, Robert Shwartzman and Callum Ilott all excelling in Formula 2.
“It’s a mix. There are quite a few opportunities out there and they aren’t going away. The market is pretty small — I think we have lucked into that this year, which is why we are not in a hurry to make the announcement.
“To evaluate everything properly, and to make a good decision….normally decisions get better with more clarity. We are not in a hurry, so why should we do it tomorrow? It takes as long as it takes, until we are confident in the decision we are going to make.”
With Nikita Mazepin also linked with a Haas seat — the F2 race winner bringing significant Russian backing — Steiner says money could play a part but insists he will not sign a driver he doesn’t believe is talented enough.
“We could be (looking at money) as well, money and talent. I mean, talent always needs to be there, not only money; talent is more important, but some people have got sponsorship they bring with them so we are looking at all the options out there as well.”