Guenther Steiner says Pascal Wehrlein came to him earlier this season about a potential drive with the Haas F1 Team in 2020, only for the former Mercedes-Benz junior and Manor F1 Racing and Sauber F1 Team racer to be knocked back.
Steiner says Wehrlein being out of Formula 1 for two years has gone against him, with the seat alongside Kevin Magnussen seemingly a straight fight between current Haas driver Romain Grosjean and Nico Hülkenberg, who is on his way out of the Renault F1 Team at the end of the current season.
Wehrlein, who raced in the FIA Formula E in the 2018/19 season with the Mahindra FE team, has retained links with Formula 1 thanks to a driver development role with Scuderia Ferrari, but Steiner, the team principal at Haas, rejected the chance to promote the German to the 2020 race seat.
“He’s been out of Formula 1 for two years now,” Steiner said to German F1 podcast Starting Grid, as quoted by Motorsport.com. “He was at the track a few races ago and he came to visit me and asked me if there was a possibility.
“I said: ‘unfortunately not.’ For the reason that he wasn’t in Formula 1 for two years. We want someone who has experience and has been in F1 for a long time.
“It’s between Nico and Romain. We haven’t made the final decision yet, but it will happen soon.”
Steiner says that Grosjean, who has been at Haas since the team joined the Formula 1 grid in 2016, is really good on his good days but has too many bad days in between. He also says money is not going to be a deciding factor in the decision to partner Magnussen.
“Romain is definitely good on a good day,” said Steiner. “But sometimes he has a few days that aren’t so good. That’s the problem with him.
“I don’t want to discuss Nico’s finances – whether he has enough money, whether he wants more. That’s for him to decide. It’s not just about finances and the last race. For us it’s more about the team: What have we achieved, what do we want to achieve?”