Guenther Steiner says the Haas F1 Team will announce their 2021 driver line-up before the end of the current season, with an all-rookie pairing likely for the American outfit.
Both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will leave Haas at the end of 2020 after five and four years with the team respectively, with Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin the most likely to replace them.
Aside from the uncertainty around seats at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, Haas is the only team yet to confirm its intentions for its driver line-up for next year, but Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, says it will not be long before they announce their line-up.
“We plan to announce it before the season is ending,” Steiner is quoted as saying to reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix by PlanetF1.com.
“We don’t know exactly the date yet, or the day, but it’s not long to wait. It’s a maximum of two weeks, so please be patient.”
Steiner reckons the way the 2021 regulations are set to play out means bringing in two rookies, should they decide to go that way, would not be a bad thing.
“If we bring in rookies – if – I think next year is a good time to bring in rookies,” added Steiner. “Because next year the car will not be developed a lot. There’s a freeze on the car, a homologation of the car, so you cannot make big changes.
“Obviously we can make aero changes, but the car will not change in terms of fundamentals. So it’s a development, and not a new development. And next year our focus will be on the ’22 car anyway, so I think it’s a transition year.
“I think it will be a good year for rookies to come in, to learn about being in F1 to start off with, getting to know the people around, getting to know how to go to press conferences, and things like this.”
Looking back at 2020, just surviving the year has been a big achievement for Haas, with Steiner saying the delays to the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the concerns that the whole season could have been cancelled left the team with doubts about their future participation in Formula 1.
“We survived, that’s what we have done right,” Steiner is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “I think I’ll leave it at that one. I think there was a big chance that we are not here anymore, and I think everybody pulled together, and we are here to stay.
“I think all-in-all, maybe we haven’t been good at the track this year, but I think we have been good for the future of Haas F1, and also for F1, because as much as we think they don’t need us I think F1 needs teams like Haas F1.”