Guenther Steiner reckons that whilst the Haas F1 Team would love to bring an American into the team, there isn’t one at the current time good enough or ready enough for Formula 1.
Alexander Rossi was the last American to race in Formula 1 when he competed in five races for the Manor Racing in 2015, whilst 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden has been linked to a possible move into Formula 1 in the future.
However, Haas Team Principal Steiner believes that no current American driver is good enough, and feels should any of them come in and be under-prepared, this would also have a negative effect on the sport, particularly in the United States.
“It’s not on top of our list,” said Steiner to Motorsport.com. “It’s on top of our list if there’s a good one. Obviously, we want one. But then maybe, if there is a really good one, would they come to us?
“Just having an American driver who maybe cannot compete at a certain level is maybe not good for the sport.
“[Signing an American driver] would be an ambition, but at the moment there is nobody ready for F1 in the United States in my opinion.”
However, Gil de Ferran has retaliated to Steiner’s claims, feeling that there are plenty of talented drivers in the United States, including Rossi and Newgarden, but admitted the small American presence in single seaters in the country is a problem, particularly with the NASCAR scene being so popular.
“I don’t think it is a fair point,” said de Ferran to Motorsport.com. “There is a lot of great American drivers, the current IndyCar champion [Newgarden] is a very talented driver.
“I think that a lot of the young American talent has grown, but is focused on the other branch of racing – stock car racing. So you get guys that nowadays are older or retired – like Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson – and they are supremely talented individuals. But early on they took this branch and, to be fair, it is very difficult.
“A lot of top American talent is going on that branch of the big tree. So the pool is smaller than what it could be. Otherwise, I think [Alexander] Rossi is very talented, Newgarden is very talented. There’s a couple of other young guys too.”