Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has professed that he retains an interest in signing Logan Sargeant for the future but has warned they will only consider recruiting an American driver once they have acquired Formula 1 experience elsewhere.
Despite being the sole American outfit on the F1 grid, Haas is yet to run a driver from the United States in a full-time capacity since the team was formed in 2016.
While their current reserve driver, Pietro Fittipaldi, was born in America and made two deputy outings for Haas during the last two races of the 2020 season, he elected to compete under the Brazilian flag.
Steiner has therefore been questioned again on the factors that would need to be fulfilled for the team to eventually field a driver from the States further down the line.
“Absolutely we would like to see it, but I think the answer is not a simple ‘what would it take?’. I mean, what would it take is a consequence”, the team boss told Texan television station KVUE.
“So I think what we need to see is to make a development of an American driver, which is very difficult.”
Haas has traditionally steered towards running experienced drivers in their brief history, but they did break from that mindset and go in an alternative direction in 2021 by signing up two rookies in the form of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher.
Two years on, however, and that short-lived experiment is over as the Kannapolis-based squad have returned to their roots with Nico Hulkenberg displacing Schumacher to partner Magnussen, who was brought back into the fold last year to replace Mazepin.
With 322 grand prix starts between them, Hulkenberg and Magnussen form one of the most experienced combinations on the 2023 grid and Steiner has addressed the decision to opt for two drivers who are known quantities rather than developing a young talent in-house.
“We had the last two years with two rookies, last year with one [inexperienced driver]. And we as a team are still very young. We are still the newest team in F1.
“And for us at the moment there is more performance to be gained for the team to make it better, to get ready, because at the moment there is no American driver with experience in F1,” Steiner objected.
Sargeant will be making his F1 bow this year for Williams and becomes the first full-time American driver to compete in the world championship since Scott Speed in 2007.
Although Steiner has praised the arrival of the 22-year-old, he’s highlighted the hypocrisy surrounding the lack of support and publicity Sargeant has received from his native America since the announcement he would be promoted to the top tier.
“There is an American coming to F1 and there is not a lot of things around that. I missed that a little bit because everyone says, ‘we want an American driver, we want to make a driver.’
“Okay, Haas hasn’t got an American driver, but I still support Sargeant, what he’s doing, because he puts the feet in very cold water here. But there’s not a lot [of noise] behind it,” challenged Steiner.
“So there is, I would say, no American driver with experience in F1. And there is one which is going to make it, and he needs all the support he can get at the moment. And I don’t think at the moment it’s there.
“So hopefully it comes, because I wish that he makes experience and then once he has made experience, he comes to us, the American team. How about that?”
Leave a Reply