The Haas Formula One team has been on the forefront of the rumor mill these last few weeks, specifically regarding its driver lineup. Team boss Guenther Steiner has made it obvious that he hasn’t been very happy with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, and there are other talented drivers in the unemployment pool.
Romain Grosjean specifically has been vocal about what he sees as his options for the future. In an interview with Autosport, he sounded as if he were already actively planning for being dropped by F1. He notes that he has options available in both the World Endurance Championship and Formula E. He’s also noted the fact that IndyCar is a “beautiful series” but that the oval events aren’t particularly tempting.
When it comes to F1, you can’t read too much into anyone’s words. The smoke-and-mirrors game that teams and drivers play with the media is all part of F1. After all, how many times have we heard Mercedes cite Ferrari and Red Bull as a legitimate threat, only to then go on and dominate the championship?
But I do have to say that Grosjean sounds like he’s actively pursuing something in a different series, even though he says he’d like to stay in F1.
Meanwhile, Sergio Perez has been pegged as being a potential option after being unceremoniously dropped by Racing Point in favor of Sebastian Vettel. A few weeks ago, we talked about how he would be a great option for Haas. He’s fast, he comes with money, and, most importantly, he hasn’t been grating on Steiner’s nerves for the past few years.
But Steiner denies that it would be that easy. From Motorsport:
There is nothing at the moment which is a no-brainer, because there are so many options.
You need to make the best decision for the team mid to long-term, not only the immediate... It’s not that we just need some quick cash for next year. We’re actually fine with that. It’s a mid to long-term: how can we get better? How can we get the best out of the team? How can we get back to our performance of 2018 and better?
I think there is more opportunity now with the budget cap coming from next year onwards and the new regulations from 2022.
Aside from Perez, Nico Hulkenburg has been a free agent, and it sounds like Red Bull Racing is looking to oust Daniil Kvyat in favor of one of its junior drivers. There are plenty of talented options who will be actively pursuing a seat in the near future.
Meanwhile, Ferrari junior drivers are looking to find their way into F1. That directive largely comes from Ferrari, Haas’s engine supplier, who obviously want to bolster its own junior program.
But one of those untried drivers could be a solid option for Haas, especially as the impending cost caps make a well-funded driver slightly less attractive in favor of one who can easily adapt to a new set of rules.