Haas will consider the long-term implications of its 2021 driver line-up when it decides who to sign for next year, says team principal Guenther Steiner, believing none of its available options are a “no-brainer.”
Both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean are out of contract at the end of the current campaign and face competition for their seats from a number of acclaimed drivers such as Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who are on the market.
Haas has only changed its line-up once since it entered F1 in 2016, bringing in Magnussen alongside Grosjean in 2017, with the latter having been part of the outfit since its inception.
Steiner says the team is carefully considering its next steps as it tries to arrest a slump that has seen it decline from fifth to ninth in the standings since its high watermark in 2018.
“There is nothing out [there] at the moment which is a no-brainer, because there are so many options out there at the moment,” Steiner said ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
“We need to try to make the best decision for the team mid-to-long term, not only the immediate.
“Because immediately, we don’t have an issue but we need to see where do we want to go mid-to-long term because there is where the opportunity is. How can we get the best out of the team? How can we get back to our performance of 2018 and better?
“I think there is more opportunity now with the budget cap coming from next year onwards and the new regulations for 2022. It’s a lot more complex.”
Despite Perez being one of the most established midfield drivers on the grid, Steiner says there are no assurances that he is the perfect long-term fit for Haas.
“For sure Checo [Perez] is a good driver, I would never doubt about him, but is he the best for the mid-to-long term? I don’t know.
“That is what we are discussing and therefore it’s not as much a no-brainer as it seems to be.”
The prospect of signing a Ferrari junior for its line-up remains a possibility, as Haas has had a close alliance with the Italian squad since 2016.
With academy drivers Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman all contesting the Formula 2 title this year, Steiner has suggested Haas is open to assisting its power unit partner.
“That’s more a Ferrari thing, if they ask us to help out,” Steiner said.
“They are helping us out this year because we have got our issues this year with the COVID, so they are helping us and in the end we helping each other. If they ask I would be open to discussing it at least.”