Date published: August 13 2019
Kevin Magnussen and/or Romain Grosjean out and Esteban Ocon or Nico Hulkenberg in at Haas? Not quite, but then again team principal Guenther Steiner admits the team might “take a bigger risk” for the 2020 season.
The Banbury-based squad have for kept an unchanged line-up for the past three seasons with the Magnussen-Grosjean combination helping them to an impressive fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship last season.
Steiner, though, concedes that they might not keep the status quo next year.
“It’s a time to take a bigger risk, if you have less to lose,” he told Formula1.com. Every situation is different. You need to move accordingly. It could be anything, I don’t want to jump to a conclusion, just because we did it once, this is how we are now doing it for the rest of our life.”
One name that has been mentioned is that of Ocon with the Mercedes reserve driver sitting out this campaign after two impressive seasons with Force India.
The Frenchman has also been linked with Valtteri Bottas’ seat at the Silver Arrows and Steiner says the 22-year-old’s lack of activity this year won’t count against him.
“People are still interested in driving here, because they see as a team, we are not weak,” he said.
“I think with one year out, it drops the stock obviously, because you are one year out, out of sight, out of mind, but then again, [Ocon] was very good the last years he raced, he did a good job.
“After two years, it’s getting difficult that somebody gets a second chance, but look at [Daniil] Kvyat, he was out a year, and he came back, and he’s pretty strong. You always look at what happens, and you always take a risk with any driver, except if you take somebody who is there for a long time.”
German Hulkenberg, who has spent the last three seasons with Renault, has also recently been rumoured as a potential Haas driver and Steiner was happy to play along.
“I think he has a contract at [Renault], I’m not sure what is happening. That would be quite explosive, eh!?” he joked. “As I said, we haven’t… it’s not just me, it’s also Mr [Gene] Haas.
“We can’t afford all the drivers who are on the market. It’s purely exploratory… I don’t know who said it. But nobody has done anything. It’s talking the talk, but no one is walking. It’s just talking.”