Haas F1 hope to have their driver lineup for the 2016 season ready by the end of September. In a video released on their You Tube today [above], Team Principle Guenther Steiner said the team are talking with 10 potential drivers, however he cites that in current driver market its difficult to predict who will be available – suggesting they’re looking at drivers on the current grid.
“We would like to make a decision by the end of summer, because then we can prepare the car for the driver. We’ve got time also to explain to our driver what we are doing because we are new, and he needs to help us as well,” said Steiner. “So by the end of September we hope to have at least one, if not two. We have got interesting candidates […] drivers which talk to us seriously and I hope we can pull some of them off.”
There has been a lot of links in the silly season between Haas and current drivers on the grid, namely Nico Hulkenberg who many have tipped as a potential candidate since it looks like a drive in Ferrari or indeed any of the top teams has yet again fallen through. Former Sauber and Ferrari reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez has also been talked about given his ties with the Power Unit manufacturer, along with the fanbase in Mexico.
GP2 ace and American driver Alexander Rossi has also been put forward since Haas wanted to put an American driver on the grid, however Rossi has been quoted in ESPN saying it isn’t “Haas or bust” with regards to his F1 debut being next year. Rossi is currently fighting for the title in GP2, in what is his third full season in the championship. The American lies third in the championship, 89 points away from leader and McLaren reserve Stoffel Vandoorne.
When talking about the ideal driver, Steiner explained that experience is an essential quality whilst speed is desirable. “We need some known quantities. Everything else is new; the whole team is new people put together, the car is the first car we make. Its a lot of unknowns so we need an known quantity to tell us ‘Hey guys, I think the car is good but this part doesn’t work.'”