Ahead of Haas F1 Team’s long-awaited Formula 1 debut in 2016, NBCSN’s Leigh Diffey sat down with team principal Gunther Steiner at the Canadian Grand Prix to discuss the team’s preparations and ongoing growth of operations in North Carolina, England and Italy.
In 12 months’ time, the team will have taken part in its first race in North America, and Steiner hopes that it may buck the trend of new teams in recent years and have some points on the board by this point.
“The first thing is that we get there and ware well prepared,” Steiner said. “We for sure do not want to be last.
“We are working hard for that. I think if everything goes to plan, maybe we have got a few points by this time.”
One of the biggest questions surrounding Haas’ debut is the driver line-up, with a number of names being linked to the two seats. The favorite for one of the drives is American driver Alexander Rossi, and although Steiner was quick to praise him, he explained that a number of drivers were on Haas’ shortlist.
“Correct, he is doing pretty well at the moment in GP2,” Steiner said. “We are looking a a pool of drivers. The pool a lot of people know the pool which is out there that we can get in to.
“We are speaking with them, seeing how confident they are with programme because we want them to be confident with us.”
Another American linked with a seat is IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden, but Steiner suggested that Haas would not be looking for drivers from the series due to their lack of F1 experience.
“I think these guys are not bad, but on the downside of them – and I don’t want to sound negative about it – is they have no F1 experience,” Steiner said.
“By us being a new team, coming out, everything is new. Throwing someone in like this is a big risk for us but also for them.
“We also have to look after these people as they have a career in front of them, they are young guys. They invested a lot of time and money in their career. We don’t want to be the people who don’t deliver. We need to be careful with everything. We evaluate all of this stuff.”
A recurring name linked to the drive is Danica Patrick, given that she races for Gene Haas’ Stewart-Haas Racing Team in NASCAR.
Steiner said that she would always be subject to speculation given he links with the team, but that he would be surprised if she wanted to walk away from NASCAR.
“It will always be,” Steiner said when asked if the story would persist. “She is a Stewart-Haas driver.
“But I think Danica is at the stage in her career where she is doing good in NASCAR. Why would she take the risk to come this way?”
See the video above for the full interview where Steiner discusses Haas’ relationship with Ferrari and the team’s overall progress as the countdown to its debut continues.