Haas unlikely to recruit rookie in their driver-line up in 2020 – Guenther Steiner

by Tom Cairns
Guenther Steiner - Rich Energy Haas F1 Team at the 2019 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring - Paddock

Haas F1 Team Team Principal Guenther Steiner states that it is uncertain of whether Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will remain with the American squad next year.

Whilst the team are contemplating about their driver line-up, the priority is to improve the 2019 car. Haas have scored twenty-six points after the first twelve races of the season. However, the double-points finish in Germany has been the only round in the last six that Steiner’s drivers have come away scoring from.

With the struggles of getting to grips with Pirelli‘s compounds for this year and the clashes between both of their drivers on track, the Italian boss explains why fielding a rookie would be too much of a risk.

“These decisions are actually very difficult to make,” Steiner said according to Formula1.com. “It’s an opportunity but it comes at a high risk rate, so it’s more like as a team we could do it, but do we want to do it?

Because I think again this year if we had two rookies or a rookie, it wouldn’t help us, because we are a little bit lost where we are with the tyres and a rookie doesn’t help you.”

A rookie being linked would be Haas’ test driver and Ferrari Driver Academy member Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi. The downside though for the Brazilian is that he has yet to participate in a Free Practice session this year.

“For us it’s difficult, otherwise we’d do it for him…” said Steiner in regards to Fittipaldi trying to get more track time with the team.

“We need both drivers [Grosjean and Magnussen] to be testing the car as much as possible. Our focus is still not to be ninth in the championship, we need to be better, so I cannot promise anything to Pietro.”

Pietro Fittipaldi - Rich Energy Haas F1 Team at the 2019 Formula 1 German Grand Prix - Hockenheimring - Paddock
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Along with Steiner’s concerns, Fittipaldi does not have the required forty superlicence points to race in Formula 1. However, taking part in Free Practice sessions will count towards earning a superlicence for 2020.

“That’s one of the problems of all young drivers at the moment,” added Steiner. “There’s not many people with a superlicence around and to get one is pretty difficult at the moment.

There is now a superlicence that a team can get points for by putting a driver into FP1, and he’s missing four points. We’ll see what we can do.”

One of F1’s 2019 rookies, Lando Norris has notched up twenty-four points for McLaren F1 Team. Although Steiner would be more than welcome to have the young Brit in his team, he shared the possible scenarios of having in-form drivers switching teams.

“This year I would say McLaren took the risk and did it very good,” the Haas boss mentioned about Norris. “Lando is doing a good job, I think he’s very fast – but it can go wrong as well, and then it’s difficult to get out of that mess.”

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