Formula 1 has been looking to expand its territory into the United States, and Haas is one team who is actively looking for an American driver in an effort to reach an American audience.
There’s only one problem: Haas team principal Gunther Steiner doesn’t believe there’s an American driver qualified to race in F1. He even told Motorsport that adding an American driver isn’t at the top of his list because there isn’t anyone available.
“It’s on top of our list if there’s a good one,” Steiner said. “Obviously, we want one. But then maybe, if there is a really good one, would they come to us?
“Just having an American driver who maybe cannot compete at a certain level is maybe not good for the sport. [Signing an American driver] would be an ambition, but at the moment there is nobody ready for F1 in the United States in my opinion.”
IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden has indicated in the past that he would potentially be interested in moving to F1, but Steiner said Newgarden would struggled with the transition if he didn’t have a lot of exposure.
Haas has Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen under contract for 2018, and the team has an option on both drivers for 2019. It’s unlikely they have an opening for another two years, but that would potentially give an American driver a chance to earn a spot with the team.
But if Steiner doesn’t think an American is ready or capable, he’s made it clear he won’t make the move. He wants to compete at the highest level, and he will employ whichever drivers he thinks can help him deliver.