Steiner tells ten-driver shortlist for 2021, speaks on Perez rumours
Guenther Steiner says many drivers are being looked at by Haas for 2021, the team's drivers clarifying that renewal discussions have yet to occur.
For the second time in seven months, a valuable asset has just become suddenly available on the lively 2020 F1 driver market, this time Sergio Perez, previously bound to Racing Point (to be Aston Martin) through 2022.
Unfortunately for Perez, though, the driver market in August has since lost the majority of its once-vacated seats, and now few reasonable options remain for the Mexican, one being Haas, whose line-up currently comprising of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
The open door at Haas appears to be one of two options for Perez along with Alfa Romeo Racing, and some view it as an open and shut case. The American F1 team principal Steiner, though, dismissed this, assuring that Haas are still reviewing a diverse array of drivers, most of whom satisfy their desires
"I mean, everybody's considered, who is on the market," said Steiner to media including Racefans.net, Motorsport Network, BBC, Reuters and more. "I always said, we lay everything on a table and then we see what we want. But it's a general, it's a principle question. What do we want to do? Do we want to keep the drivers we have got? Do we want experienced drivers? Do we want to start with young drivers? Do we do a mix of it?
"Everything is on the table. So, nothing changes. And it gets fuller and fuller by the day in the moment, which is a good thing [for us], because then you have a choice. And choices are always good. We will discuss this with Gene, and then come to a conclusion, but there is a lot of people which tick boxes as well. You know, it's not only Perez. So, as I said, there is other people out there which have got the same experience.
"I mean, for sure Checo. I mean, I respect him a lot, you know what he did. I mean, as [was] always said also with Sebastian, it's a pity if we would lose him in Formula 1. The same with Nico Hulkenberg not being here. They're all good people. I don't know what we're going to do. I said, there is a lot of options there," summed up Steiner.
When pressed on, Steiner divulged that ten-names comprise his list, but he didn't tell any names. "There are close to 10 [names on the list]," he confessed, before promptly denying an answer to the question of whether F2 driver Mick Schumacher is on the list when it was later raised. "I told you how many people on the list, but no names! Except that I just said two of them. Everybody keeps on asking 'is he on the list?', 'is he on the list?'
"So, I don't really know! I forgot how the list looks. You know, I just remember the number," summed up Steiner, who added that he has spoken to Perez's manager number of times but that is normal for the Italian to do with many personnel in the paddock, whether or not, they are discussing whether it is for a seat or anything else.
One driver at the center of the ever-developing story, Magnussen, stated that he has yet to begin discussions with Haas. The Dane did, however, add that this doesn't worry him, despite a 'competitive' driver market. "No, it hasn’t really started so we will see when that happens and take it from there," he began.
"I mean, you never really know, that’s one thing I’ve learned in F1. That you can never be sure. You just have to do your best every time you are in the car and then wait and seen what the future holds. There is some very good drivers on the market so, it’s a competitive at the moment, but I don’t worry about it too much. I just try and do my best on track."
The driver of the pair suspected to be most at-risk of termination, Grosjean, echoed that he, too, has yet to begin discussions with Haas. "It’s competitive and it’s great and that’s how Formula 1 should be," he said.
"So I’m just going to do my best and let’s see what we can do in the future. The team was focused first on getting the Concorde Agreement and so on, which is more than understandable and now being in a triple header, it’s just difficult to get time to speak about it."
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida, and edited by Darshan Chokhani]