Haas waiting for drivers' market to move to decide 2020 line-up


Haas boss Guenther Steiner is mulling the future of his team's line-up but insists potential choices may not become clear until the driver's market is set in motion.

In addition to the mystifying troubles impacting its car this season, Haas has had to contend with the costly on-track run-ins of its drivers.

Many doubt the US outfit will bank on continuity for 2020 by keeping both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean onboard, with the Frenchman seen as the most likely one to depart the team.

Rumors have placed Renault's Nico Hulkenberg at Haas for next year, as well as Esteban Ocon should the Mercedes protégé miss out on a plum drive with the Silver Arrows.

Finally, former Sauber driver and current Mahindra Formula E charger Pascal Wehrlein has also been linked with Gene Haas' outfit.

But given Haas' limited means, Steiner suggests his team might wait until the music stops and then see who happens to be without a chair.

"You're trying to figure out how the driver market is evolving, and then you're making the best decisions about what the market offers you, and that means seeing who's available, who is not, and who we can afford," Steiner told Motorsport-Magazin.

"There is one domino to fall and then the others fall in. Nothing is moving yet, the question is when will the first move, but maybe nothing will move.

"A lot of things still have to happen - some drivers are out of contract, but we cannot afford any current drivers on the market anyway."


While Steiner would welcome an opportunity to work with Ocon, the Italian sees a couple of drawbacks associated with the former Force India driver.

"When you've been out for a year, of course, your stock goes down, you've been away for a year, out of sight, out of mind," said Steiner.

"He was very good for the last two years when he was driving, he's in the simulator at Mercedes now, so he's still involved.

"One year you can handle, but after two years it gets harder to give someone a second chance. On the other hand, Kvyat was gone too, and now he's back and pretty strong."

The second stumbling block that would possibly hinder an Ocon move to Haas is the Frenchman's status with Mercedes. Steiner won't settle for a one-year contract.

"Having a driver for just one year is usually not very productive," he admitted. "It would have to be for more than a year as we don't want to just be a training ground for someone."

Would Steiner take a chance on Wehrlein, who currently serves as Ferrari's simulator driver in addition to his Formula E commitment?

"He's been out for two years now, so it's difficult to come back," said the 54-year-old team boss.

"On the other hand, he races in Formula E, so he is not quite out and there seems to be the will to come back.

"But of course, it's also a big risk for him, and you have to ask him if he would want to do that.

"And then, after two years, it becomes more difficult to take the risk as a team and enable someone to make a comeback."

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