After announcing that both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean will be leaving the Haas F1 Team at the end of 2020, Guenther Steiner says they know the risks should they opt for two rookies to replace them next season.
Haas are the only team on the grid without either of their seats filled for the 2021 season to date, and they have been linked to FIA Formula 2 racers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. British racer Callum Ilott has also been linked to Haas, but he is thought to be an outside bet for a seat.
Schumacher had looked set to race for Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN next season only for the team to confirm an unchanged line-up of Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi just prior to last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and it now looks like the son of seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher will end up at Haas.
Mazepin, who like Schumacher is a race winner in Formula 2 in 2020, would bring significant backing to Haas should he join, although he is less certain of securing the Superlicence that would allow him to race in Formula 1 next year.
Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, says no decision has yet been made to who will race for the team next season, but they have discussed the possibility of running with two rookies.
“We haven’t decided to take two rookies, but I can easily talk you through my thoughts about two rookies,” Steiner is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “We discussed this, the risks, the opportunities with them.
“There is obviously a risk that two rookies, they have nobody experienced to look at [for] the data and stuff like this. They need to find out between them what is going on, and there is risk that it goes wrong. But the pros are you can put them in the direction you want to put them, and they grow with the team.
“Because it was never done, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. For sure there is a risk that it doesn’t work. I don’t want to be ignorant to that one.”
Steiner says he pays no attention to criticism from outside of the team, with question marks having been raised in the past about the driver line-up, and in particular, keeping Grosjean at the team for as long as they have.
“We have done a few things different than other people,” Steiner said. “A few years ago I was asked, ‘why do you keep Romain so long? Because nobody has kept anybody so long’.
“We don’t need to do what other people did. We will do what we think is right, and if it works or not, we will be judged on it – nobody else. We take that risk and we take that opportunity. So if we would take two rookies, we have thought it through. We know the pros and we know the cons, and we will deal with that if we go that way.”