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Haas not planning to sign reserve driver in near future

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Haas team principal Günther Steiner has revealed that there are currently no plans to sign a reserve driver ahead of its debut season in Formula 1.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will take his eponymous team onto the grid for the first time at the Australian Grand Prix in March, becoming the first American outfit to race in F1 since the unrelated Haas-Lola operation in 1986.

Former Lotus racer Romain Grosjean and Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez will race for the team in 2016, but Steiner confirmed to GPUpdate that there were no plans to draft in a third driver as back-up to begin with.

“No, not yet,” Steiner said. “We left that a little bit alone for the moment. Maybe we will do something in the future.

“And I say maybe, but for the near future we are not going to do a lot with reserve drivers and development drivers. We have got a steep mountain to climb, so we don’t want to distract ourselves.”

Steiner confirmed last week that Haas was planning to roll its car out for the first time on February 21, one day before the first pre-season test in Barcelona where it will enjoy its maiden on-track run-out.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.