As TJ13 reported last week, Haas F1 team principal – Gunther Steiner – has set about reversing some of the ideas championed by Gene Haas when he announced his F1 entry last summer.
Gone is the notion that Haas is just a Ferrari ‘B’ team, and Steiner is now reported in the German media as stating that Haas personnel are the ones making the key calls around the chassis design and not Haas sub-contractor Dallara.
Steiner has also stated categorically that Haas F1 will select its own drivers and not be influenced by Ferrari. There is now an internal deadline Haas F1 has set for the declaration of the team’s two race drivers for 2016.
“Our plan is to be clear of talks by August/September and then announce them,” says Steiner.
The romanticism of an American Formula One team with American drivers is not lost on Haas, however, Steiner knowns he will need the best pilots he can get.
“We are looking at American drivers, but being American doesn’t give you an automatic drive.”
It is almost certain that in year one Haas F1 will run two non-American drivers, because the team will need all the experience they can get behind the wheel.
Gunther strongly hints at this when he says: “An experienced American would be something different, but there is nobody out there and what we need is somebody who needs to guide us a little bit as well, that we know where we stand.
“We need to have a known factor in this team. The team is new, everything is new, so if you throw in new drivers [to F1] – if we have a problem we don’t know where we got it wrong.”
There are no current experienced F1 race drivers who are American.
Alexander Rossi probably the closest American to getting an F1 seat, but he is driving in GP2 this year and has had a promising start. His third and fourth places in Bahrain sees him standing third in the drivers’ championship. Realistically, this year’s title should be a romp for McLaren’s Stoffel van Doorne who is driving for ART.
The question is – who do the TJ13 readers think will end driving for Haas F1 in 2016.