Haas to announce 2021 F1 line-up before season ends
Haas Formula 1 boss Gunther Steiner says that the US-owned team will announce its drivers for 2021 before the end of this season.
Haas is widely expected to run Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, and Steiner’s comments are the clearest indication yet that official confirmation is due after the FIA F2 finale in Bahrain, and before the last Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi.
That timing is logical given the obvious desire to keep both drivers focussed on their F2 programmes, as well as the need for them to formally qualify for their superlicences.
“We plan to announce it before the season is ending,” said Steiner. “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.”
One question mark still surrounds Mazepin’s claim to an FIA superlicence.
The Russian has to finish at least seventh in the F2 standings in order to claim enough points.
He currently lies sixth – but two poor weekends in Bahrain could see him slip down the order.
However, Steiner insisted that Haas’s driver choice is not related to F2 results: “It’s not dependent on that one. I need to disappoint you on that!”
The choice of two rookies will represent a change of philosophy for the team, which has hitherto run two veterans.
On Thursday current incumbent Kevin Magnussen said that any new driver will find the Haas “a difficult car to drive.”
However, while stopping short of confirming the team’s plans Steiner insisted that 2021 will be a good time for inexperienced drivers to enter the sport.
“If we bring in rookies – if – I think next year is a good time to bring in rookies,” he said. “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.”
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