No Haas-Mazepin sale, Grosjean/Peugeot; Raikkonen yet to sign any contract
The American outfit categorically put down the sale talk as the Finn says he is yet to sign anything.
Guenther Steiner was pretty vocal about no sale of Haas to Dimitry Mazepin as 2021 line-up talks rages on, while Romain Grosjean discussed about Peugeot as Kimi Raikkonen puts down contract signed news.
Steiner categorically put down the news regarding sale of Haas F1 team to Mazepin family after stories popped up post the Russian GP. The Italian took the meeting with them as a normal thing and nothing to do with the sale of the outfit to the Russian industrialist.
Mazepin was eyeing to buy Force India in 2018 before it went to Lawrence Stroll. His son Nikita is in his second year of F2 and has had a solid season so far with Hitech GP. While Steiner categorically said no for sale of Haas, but nothing was said about the driver.
He did discuss about Callum Ilott being not on the list per say, because he is a Ferrari backed driver, while he added that there was no talks regarding a possible F1 seat for the Brit in 2021 as he makes his FP1 debut with Haas this weekend in the #50 VF-19.
Steiner got a bit agitated with the sale of Haas to Mazepin. "Jesus Christ! Just to clarify: the team is not for sale and it is not for seen to be on sale but if at one stage, that the team was for sale, whether it is in 20 years, maybe I am not around to sell it, maybe you guys won't be there as well," he said to media including Racefans.net, Motorsport Network, BBC, Reuters, The Race.
"I hope whoever is there, then puts a title 'for sale', but if you ask me what we are going to do with the team in a hundred years, I don't really care. I won't be there. So, I would say again, the team is not for sale. I've known Mr. Mazepin for quite a while now. He was just around in Russia, since obviously he's Russian. He was in our motorhome because -- I think it was his family -- they had a coffee with us.
"As I said, it's not for sale at the moment. It's just like two weeks ago. If it is for sale, you know what we'll do? We will announce it and do it properly like Williams did. Get the company involved and put it up for sale so everyone who wants it can try to get a bit of it. There seem to be a lot of people who want to buy a team that is not for sale. We agreed on this one, when we put the team for sale, we do it like Williams did.
"We employ a broker to do it. That is what we will be doing because I was very complimentary when Williams did it. I think it is the right way to do it: to stop the speculation it's for sale and insecurity, whether it is on sale or not."
Moving on, regarding Ilott, Steiner said: "He’s not on the list because he’s a Ferrari driver. I don’t know what they are doing with him, what they are planning for him and so on. So in the moment therefore he is not on the list. But I have a lot of respect for him because he’s second in the F2 championship which means he’s pretty good.
"I met him the first time this morning very briefly, we’ve got a meeting this afternoon so I will learn a little bit more about him. But therefore I said, I was very honest, he’s not on the list now, maybe he’s on the list tomorrow. It will not be depending on the first practice result. For sure if he does one thing which he shouldn’t be doing, then he’s not on the list, for sure, any more, like if he crashes the car.
"I don’t think tomorrow is about him getting in there. Tomorrow for us is actually trying to get something out of him to see how he works. And then he’s a Ferrari driver so I don’t know the plans, what they have with him for the future. What I want to avoid is that he tries to impress us. That is one of the tasks because when they try to impress you they normally disappoint you because they do something which is not good.
"So what we are going to speak with him this afternoon, with the race engineers, is what we want out of his test is consistent feedback of what he feels what we are doing and not a fast time. Because it’s always difficult, it’s a lot of pressure, one-and-a-half hours. He was in an F1 car before, so he knows it, but it was quite a while ago now. The most impressive thing he can do is not to do anything stupid. We discussed to get him into FP1 but we didn’t discuss anything further than that," summed up Steiner.
Regarding the Haas line-up for 2021 F1 season and eventual shortlist, Steiner did not wish to give more: "My comment today on drivers is we're getting there. We are getting there slowly. It's not an easy task to do this, but I would say we are getting there. I don't want to go into any detail of how many are there on the shortlist.
"This is not without disrespect to anything, it's just right, then we are sitting here just speaking about something we have been covering the last two months now. We are getting there, and as soon as we know, we will announce is, and hopefully it's not too far out for your benefit and for my one as well, so you're not busting my you-know-what."
Romain Grosjean on Peugeot:
While the driver talk of Haas continues, it is more looking like Grosjean is already eyeing a different future and a Hypercar programme of Peugeot in World Endurance Championship sounds an interesting prospect to the Frenchman. He also has Formula E on his mind.
"Of course, Le Mans, everyone knows I loved it when I did it, and I love the do this only on the simulator: I find that team spirit, with other pilots, is really something that maybe when I was 20 I didn't like so much, but today I really like it," said Grosjean to media including Motorsport Network, Motorsport-Total and more.
"A French manufacturer on one of the biggest races in the world, obviously it's a great operation. I hope that with hypercars, there are as many manufacturers as possible who will come back and that we will meet again in good times. Toyota is doing a great job, but we're not going to lie: today, seeing the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a car fighting against its little sister - or its big sister - is not very exciting.
"Peugeot is coming, there is Toyota and I hope other manufacturers. It becomes again a race that thrills and you never know the result, even five minutes from the finish. I think Peugeot are still far from being really on track. There was the partnership with Rebellion , which fell into the water. There are quite a few things to do so that the question of the pilots is addressed. But at some point, yes, we will get in touch because it is a project on the future which is 'interests a lot," the Haas F1 driver summed up.
Kimi Raikkonen has no contract signed:
Despite stories of a pending announcement from Alfa Romeo Racing - ahead of the FP1 session in Eifel GP - regarding Raikkonen staying and Mick Schumacher joining, the Finn noted that there is no contract signed yet to continue racing in 2021.
Raikkonen started with a joke that Alfa Romeo will drop him but in seriousness, he said that they have not signed yet - although they can still do it overnight and announce nice and early on Friday morning. Schumacher had similar answer of nothing at the moment.
The German will make his FP1 debut in the #37 Alfa Romeo. "Nothing has been decided so far," said Raikkonen in press conference. "And yeah, for sure it started with I didn't have any experience. "And now I'm getting too old, so that they want to get rid of me! In the middle one way it worked okay. And now it's not great for some people anyhow.
"We'll see. Obviously we have some talks with the team. It's obviously my decision in the end, and we'll see what it comes to be. If you believe the news, maybe then it's the truth. But I never had an option in my contract. So that's pretty much telling you that it's not true. I've read so many things in the news.
"And over the years, that I stopped reading them, because maybe 90% is far from the truth. And then 10% is something to do with it. So no, I haven't signed anything, I didn't sign last week or a month ago or yesterday or today. We'll see. I mean, I enjoy the racing. But obviously we have more fun when we do better.
"It's definitely not been something we want it to be, or where we're aiming, but it was quite early on very clear that we are not where we were hoping to be, for many different reasons. But the racing I still enjoy, we had good battles. I wouldn't be here today if I wouldn't enjoy it, I can do other things also," summed up Raikkonen.
[Image courtesy: Haas F1 Team] [Note: This story was written on FormulaRapida.net]