Haas set to finalise driver line-up this month

The Haas Formula 1 team is still on track to finalise its new drivers this month, despite leading candidate Nico Hulkenberg having elected to stay at Force India.

The United States outfit had been in talks with Hulkenberg to lead its line-up in 2016, but the German believes that his future is better set remaining where he is.

With Haas determined to land an experienced driver, that has left Kevin Magnussen, Esteban Gutierrez and Jean-Eric Vergne as frontrunners for now.

Although no decision has been taken yet, team principal Gunter Steiner said that a move was imminent to decide who to take.

"We are still aiming for September," Steiner told Motorsport.com. "Obviously it is a very important decision for us and we are not rushing into it, but we are still aiming for September.

"Everybody knows how the market looks like, with a lot of the dominoes having fallen by now with people staying put.

"So we are talking with all the people out there with experience and we just want to make the right decision.

"We are in a good position to know what we want and what we can afford, and it will fall in place."

Rookies ruled out

Although Haas has been linked with potential rookies, like American Alexander Rossi, Steiner has said that experienced F1 drivers are a must.

When asked if it could elect for a rookie, he said: "That is not what we want to take. If a rookie comes in we give him little chance to succeed. What does he get out of it? We are rookies, so we need to have a known quantity in the end."

Lotus impact

Haas could find potential other experienced men like Romain Grosjean or Pastor Maldonado come on the market if the Lotus team hits trouble, but Steiner made clear that his team was not waiting on things that may not happen.

"It is very difficult if you start to speculate on what is happening with other teams because we have no input, we cannot make changes," he said.

"In the end we need to focus on ourselves and deal with what is real; not what could be. Otherwise in December it still could be happening, then it is next year. We need to deal with reality. We know what it is."

Happy for Hulkenberg

Although Haas made no secret of its desire to land Hulkenberg, Steiner has said he is not too disappointed about the German's decision not to move away from Force India.

"I am not disappointed with anybody," he said. "We talked with him like we talked with other people. We didn't have anything with him – and if he decided to stay there, it is his decision.

"We are never judging anybody's decision. He is free to do what he wants to do and we spoke with him and we spoke with other people. He said 'I am not in the running any more', so we said thank you."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Haas F1 Team
Article type Breaking news