Steiner highlights lack of prospective American F1 drivers

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team
© XPB 

Haas f1 Team boss Guenther Steiner says he still wants to sign up an American driver for the United States-based team.

Haas' current line-up consists of French driver Romain Grosjean and Danish racer Kevin Magnussen. Their contracts expire at the end of 2018, although the team is believed to hold options to extend.

However, Steiner says that the American racing scene just isn't throwing up the sort of talent that would suit Formula 1.

"Just having an American driver who maybe cannot compete at a certain level is maybe not good for the sport," he suggested.

"It's on top of our list if there's a good one," he conceded. "Obviously, we want one. But then maybe, if there is a really good one, would they come to us?

"At the moment there is nobody ready for Formula 1 in the United States in my opinion," he added.

However, Steiner's pronouncements drew criticism from American drivers.

"How can you possibly call yourselves an “American” team and totally berate your entire “home” nationality of drivers?" tweeted Conor Daly. "There hasn’t even been a hint of consideration of any well established American drivers over here."

The Indianapolis-born driver, son of former F1 driver Derek Daly, previously raced in GP3 and GP2. He has spent the last two seasons competing in IndyCar for Dale Coyne Racing and AJ Foyt Enterprises.

Fellow IndyCar driver Graham Rahal - son of Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal - called Steiner's comments "Complete BS."

"If you really believe that, why don’t you call some of us, give it a shot?" he added on Twitter. "Always funny the Haas F1 Team mentality. 'Americans aren’t good enough', yet they haven’t even given us a shot. Not worth our time."

Retired four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon also took umbrage at Steiner's comments.

"F1 teams will never truly embrace an American driver unless they establish them and train them in Europe themselves from age 9 or 10," Gordon said on Twitter. He tried out Juan Pablo Montoya’s Williams at Indianpolis Motor Speedway in 2003 but decided against following it up.

"Plenty of great talent in America that given the right opportunity and quality equipment could be successful," Gordon said. "But don’t see it happening anytime soon."

There are currently no drivers from the United States competing in Formula 1. The most recent American driver to participate was Alexander Rossi, who entered five races with Marussia F1 in 2015.

However, Steiner insisted that an American driver is simply not a priority for Haas right now.

"It's not on top of our list," he said, adding that Grosjean and Magnussen were his preferred options to remain beyond 2018.

"They are both worthy of staying," Steiner said. "Do either of them want to stay? That's the next thing. There is a lot of factors which come into that.

"People want to say we take somebody else, but no. We're not. We are fine," he added. "I don't know yet [about 2019], but I will tell you in due course."

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