Guenther Steiner says he would have no qualms about calling up either Romain Grosjean or Kevin Magnussen during the 2021 Formula 1 season, should the Haas F1 Team require a replacement driver.
Grosjean and Magnussen were released by Haas at the end of the 2020 season after five and four years with the American outfit, with 2020 FIA Formula 2 Champion Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin being drafted in as their replacements.
Three drivers – Sergio Pérez, Lance Stroll and Lewis Hamilton – all missed races during the 2020 campaign due to coronavirus-related illnesses, and teams up and down the paddock are wary that similar events could happen this coming year with the pandemic still prevalent around the globe.
And Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, says they would not turn down the opportunity to bring back either Grosjean or Magnussen should either Schumacher or Mazepin be unavailable.
“I wouldn’t mind if they are free,” said Steiner to Motorsport.com. “I think they will be happy to come back as well.
“I mean, I haven’t asked them, but I don’t think they have any bad feelings.”
Looking at the potential of hiring a de facto third driver for 2021, Steiner says talks are ongoing with Pietro Fittipaldi to continue the role after he participated in the final two races of 2020 in place of Grosjean, who was recovering from his horror crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“I think we have to carry this year a third driver like we did last year, because of COVID,” he said. “You never know when it hits you. If you ever need a third driver at the track, it is now.
“There’s no rush to name anybody. We are talking with Pietro, obviously. But there is no big rush from our side and not from his side.”
Steiner is pleased that both drivers have found themselves new homes for 2021, with Grosjean joining Dale Coyne Racing in the NTT IndyCar Series and Magnussen racing for Chip Ganassi Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“I actually texted Romain just before, because I had to ask him something, I spoke with Kevin last weekend when he was in Daytona,” said Steiner. “So I’m very happy for them.
“And as always said, I mean we parted ways, but I think in life, we still work together. There was no fallout. For sure, they weren’t happy, but they weren’t unhappy. They had a good time, we had a good time.
“All good things come to an end in life, that was one of them, but we still keep on our relationship. I’m very happy that they both keep on doing what they like to do.”