With the addition of an American team to the Formula One team, everyone was hoping there would finally be an American driver in F1. Nope! According to Haas F1 team principal Günther Steiner, there are no American drivers currently under consideration for 2016.
NBC Sports reports that at least one of the drivers will probably be a current Ferrari reserve driver, with Esteban Gutiérrez leading the rumors. That leaves one other seat, and Steiner told Formula One that they need someone experienced:
There is nobody out there [from the U.S.] at the moment. Yes, there are drivers in GP2 and Formula Three, but having a rookie in a new team…that is difficult for both sides. The potential of such a partnership failing is pretty high. So at the moment we’d rather not be looking at that avenue, because you are also not helping an inexperienced driver - he could be burned in one season. We are new, so we need a known quantity in the team.
He’s not wrong. As for experienced Americans looking at a Formula One ride, the list is pretty barren. While American GP2 standout Alexander Rossi has been a reserve driver for Marussia and Caterham, that’s not the level of experience that Haas is looking for. Despite earlier comments made by Gene Haas, Danica Patrick wouldn’t work, either — she would be a total newcomer to the sport.
As a new team, they need all the development help they can get, and that means getting someone with more race time in both seats.
Unfortunately, they’re entering in 2016, not 2017. Kimi Räikkönen staying at Ferrari shut down a lot of potential moves, as did Nico Hülkenberg staying at Force India. Everybody’s holding out for that 2017 Ferrari seat, it seems.
Who might be Haas’ #2? Former Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne has been rumored to be in consideration for the Haas seat.
“I have a few cards in my hand for Formula One,” Vergne told Downforce Radio, as quoted by Autoweek. “It’s still a bit early to talk about them, but I have a few good options, which is nice, so we’re going to see how things go over the next few months.”
Could one of those cards be Haas, then? We’ll see.
Per NBC Sports, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean has also been rumored for Haas’ second seat.
Of course, neither of those dudes are American.
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