Exclusive: Haas set to retain Maini and Ferrucci as development drivers for 2018
Haas F1’s team principal Guenther Steiner has all but confirmed that both Arjun Maini and Santino Ferrucci will continue on as the American squad’s development drivers for the 2018 season.
The promising Indian driver had joined the Haas stable earlier this year in May, while the American was retained for another season after signing in 2016.
When asked about Maini and also Ferrucci in an exclusive interview, Stiener said: “Yeah, he is staying as a development driver for next year. Looks like yes [for Ferrucci as well]. We haven’t defined yet anything, but I don’t see why not.
However, the team is in no hurry to announce them just yet, with the official confirmation not coming before 2018. “We will confirm them sometime in the first quarter next year,” said Steiner.
While Ferrucci has had his F1 runs both in 2016 and 2017 seasons, Maini is yet to get his chance. When asked if there is a possibility of him driving the new car next season, Stiener said:
“If possible yes, but we haven’t decided 100 percent on that, yet. We always sort these things out in January, [as to] who is doing FP1 and rookie test and stuff like that, but sure he’s high, if not on top of list.”
Steiner revealed that Maini has had over 100 laps in the simulator, where engineers gave him different challenges, in order to test his composure, handling and pace – on which they gave a ‘positive’ feedback on him.
The Indian has had a difficult full season in the GP3 Series racing for Jenzer. He started off with a historic win in Barcelona, but his results have dived down for various reasons. He scored his first podium since Barcelona in Abu Dhabi's Feature race.
Meanwhile, his stablemate Ferrucci started his year in the GP3 with DAMS, but moved to the FIA Formula 2 Championship post the summer break and has since scored four points in the eight races with Trident.
The two drivers are expected to run in the post-Abu Dhabi F2 test, with Maini testing for two teams in the course of the three days.