DRIVER MARKET: Ilott not on Haas’s list, as Grosjean and Magnussen continue to sweat on their futures
Ferrari Driver Academy member and Formula 2 runner Callum Ilott will make his race weekend debut for Haas at the Eifel Grand Prix. But despite the appearance, Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner has said that Ilott is not under consideration for a seat at the team next year – while Haas’s incumbent drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen told the media they were still waiting to have their own futures decided.
Ilott, who currently sits second in the Formula 2 standings behind Mick Schumacher – who’ll appear in FP1 for Alfa Romeo this weekend – will take over Romain Grosjean’s Haas VF-20 for FP1 at the Nurburgring. But Steiner, who’s said previously that the team had 10 names under consideration for a seat next year, insists that Ilott’s is not one of them.
“Not at the moment,” Steiner said on Thursday at the Nurburgring, when asked whether Ilott was a potential candidate for Haas. “I don't think tomorrow is about him getting in there! Tomorrow for us is actually trying to get something out of him to see how he works – and then he's a Ferrari driver so I don't know the plans are that they have with him for the future.”
Meanwhile, speaking later in the day, both Magnussen and Grosjean were asked whether they had any update from their sides as to their own futures, or whether either driver had set Haas a deadline for a decision to be made.
“It's hard to know what the outcome will be,” replied Magnussen. “And it wouldn't be helpful to sit here and tell you guys the deadline and put pressure on the whole situation like that. So I'm taking it day by day and focusing on my racing while I wait for my future to unfold.”
“I've been in this situation many times and it's part of the world we live in,” added Grosjean, who’s voiced an interest in exploring options outside of Formula 1 recently, including the World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar category and Formula E.
“Always the earlier the better that you know your future, but I think the maths are quite easy, and there aren’t that many seats left, so in that aspect, it [means] there's a little bit less speculation. And also looking at other options as well outside of F1, to see what could be really tempting.
“So I guess we will know soon enough for everyone, so luckily we don’t have to answer that question anymore in the future!”
Meanwhile, having declared that Ilott was not in the frame for a seat at Haas, Steiner had some useful advice for the Briton ahead of his FP1 debut on Friday.
“What I want to avoid is that he tries to impress us,” said Steiner. “That is one of the tasks, because when they try to impress you, they normally disappoint you, because they do something which is not good.
“I mean, he was in an F1 car before [Ilott tested for Alfa Romeo at Barcelona last year] so he knows it, but it was quite a while ago now. So the most impressive thing he can do is not to do anything stupid!”
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