Haas F1 Team is now turning its attention to drivers ahead of their debut season in 2016, and may well contract existing Formula 1 drivers whose teams have delivered below expectations.
It emerged recently that due to his link to the team’s technology partner Ferrari, Esteban Gutierrez appears in pole position for one seat.
But Californian GP2 driver Alexander Rossi might also be a contender, while team owner Gene Haas has not ruled out a spectacular switch from Nascar for Danica Patrick.
The shortlist, however, is undoubtedly much longer than that, Haas indicated in a recent interview with USA Today, “I think the seriousness of the interest is picking up quite a bit. Right now there’s a lot of churning in the garage there in Formula 1.”
“Some people are doing really well and everybody else is doing really bad. Some of the teams they thought would do good really missed it. The drivers we would probably be getting are drivers who have gone to another team and aren’t happy with that team’s progress.”
“It’s a real chess game of figuring out who is going to wind up where. We’re just another alternative. I think drivers are very cognizant of the fact that if they choose the wrong venue, they can screw their careers.”
“Because when there’s technological issues they haven’t overcome, they’re wasting a whole year. And they don’t like to do that,” he explained.
He might be talking about Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, who have been openly disappointed with Force India’s progress in 2016.
That is despite team boss Vijay Mallya declaring to F1’s official website this week that “the chances that I will keep them (Hulkenberg and Perez) are absolutely very high”.
Haas said: “The drivers we would probably be getting are drivers who have gone to another team and aren’t happy with that team’s progress.
“I think drivers are very cognisant of the fact that if they choose the wrong venue, they can screw their careers,” he explained. “Because when there’s technological issues they haven’t overcome, they’re wasting a whole year.”