Haas F1 team chief Guenther Steiner revealed that the American team remained loyal to their drivers – Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean – when Ferrari were shopping for a race seat to place one of their juniors on the grid for next season.
Ferrari are keen to promote their highly regarded academy drivers, Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi, to the Formula 1 grid as they groom them for the future.
As a Ferrari customer team Haas were an obvious team to approach, as a discount on engines for a seat is a common strategy used by big teams with their customers.
Steiner told Racer, “We work very closely with Ferrari together on things but they respect our decisions. Sure, they asked us if we can do something, and we said no. It’s fine. I think we work with both of our drivers very well so at the moment for us there is nothing to be changed.”
Grosjean and Magnussen have long been confirmed as the team’s drivers for 2018, “We know we have got these two drivers. Sometimes you need to look after the long term, because next year is short term.”
“We make our plans and try to plan as well as possible. When we signed these drivers we had to make the plans together. We need to be consistent. I think we are pretty stable and for sure the drivers are helping to grow the team.”
“I cannot say if it would have been different if we had someone else in the car. We don’t have the years of experience to say: With this guy we did better than that one.”
“We’re only in our second year and sometimes you forget that. It looks like we’ve been here forever now but we’ve not. Everything is new for us. While consistency sometimes goes against you – sometimes fresh blood helps you do better – we need to build a base. For that, consistency is important,” added Steiner.
Meanwhile it seems more than likely that either Leclerc or Giovinazzi will be Sauber drivers next year. The latter has already driven for the Swiss team, earlier this year, in place of injured Pascal Wehrlein.
Leclerc was handed four FP1 sessions with Sauber and was on duty in Malaysia and will also be in the car in the USA, Mexico and Brazil.