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Haas hoping for driver decision by September

17 Aug 2015

The new Haas team hope to announce at least one driver for their debut 2016 campaign by the end of next month, with experience rather than speed their top priority. That is according to team principal Guenther Steiner.

Haas, the brainchild of NASCAR team owner Gene Haas, have been talking to about 10 drivers for next year, and Steiner says he has been very happy with the reaction when contacting potential candidates.

“Nobody was like, ‘Hey, this is new, I don’t want to go there’,” he said in a video team update. “No, it’s like, ‘Hey, tell me what you are doing. It sounds to me like a good programme that Mr Haas has put up here.’

“By September I hope we have got the decision for at least one, if not two - ideally it would be two - drivers. We have got interesting candidates, which is very nice for us. We have got drivers with a good reputation who are talking to us seriously, so I hope we can pull some of them off.”

Given the start-up nature of the American squad, Steiner says it is only natural that experience has been their first priority when considering drivers - though naturally he’d prefer them to be quick as well.

“We are a new team, we need to be conscious that we need some known quantities,” he said. “Everything else is new. You know, the whole team is new people put together, the first car we make… it’s a lot of unknowns.

“So we need a known quantity in there which in the end can tell us, ‘Hey guys, I think the car is good, but this part of the team doesn’t work,’ or, ‘The team works good - I’ve got a good relationship with my race engineers - but the car isn’t good.’

“We need somebody who can actually see where we are, so we need experience. And if the experience is coming with speed, even better.”

Steiner admitted that the somewhat static nature of the driver market for 2015 has made life tricky for Haas, with many candidates no doubt hedging their bets until they have a clearer understanding of the opportunities that may - or may not - arise for next season.

“It is still difficult to find out who is actually available because it hasn’t been decided who is going where yet. So everybody’s talking, but it’s not only talking from our side - the people talking back to us, they are trying to sound out what is available.

“So it’s a little bit of getting in touch with people - most of them we know anyway from before, or we meet them now - but I think we will, or we would like to make a decision by the end of the summer.”