Haas is close to making a final decision on its driver line-up for the 2019 Formula 1 season, team principal Guenther Steiner has revealed.

The US squad is yet to announce its driver plans for next year, but Kevin Magnussen is likely to take up his option to remain with the team in 2019 following his strong start to the season.

After a difficult opening half to the campaign, Romain Grosjean’s future at Haas is uncertain, though fourth place in Austria and further points finishes in Germany and Hungary have gone some way in strenghening his current position.

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Steiner previously claimed Haas had received significant interest from drivers to join the team for 2019, and said it had begun initial discussions during F1’s summer break.

“We're making very good progress. We're just going through the motions. We did a lot over the break, but we haven't come to the complete conclusion,” Steiner said in the build-up to this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“Nevertheless, I think we're in a good place, it's just like I cannot say anything yet because we are still working through a few bits and bobs.

“Just in the moment, we're in a good place. I'm very happy with the progress that we made, but we've just not come to the conclusion. It isn't far off, what we're going to do.”

Steiner is expecting a decision to be finalised in a matter of weeks, adding he is keen to avoid the situation dragging out for too long.

“I think we should be weeks out, a few weeks. I hope we don’t have to drag this one on too long, because I want to get to the conclusion, and we all want to get to the conclusion,” he explained.

“I think we owe that to the drivers and to the team as well. The team is always eager to know who is going to drive our car. We need a little bit more work, but we’re in a good way.”

Ferrari is yet to confirm who will drive alongside Sebastian Vettel for 2019, though it is understood Kimi Raikkonen will get the nod over protégé and Sauber driver Charles Leclerc for a further season.

Should Raikkonen be handed a new deal, that could open the door for Leclerc to move up to Haas, with question marks lingering over Grosjean.

A Magnussen-Leclerc partnership at the American squad would also enable Ferrari to place fellow junior Antonio Giovinazzi at Sauber – the team he made his F1 debut with as stand-in for the injured Pascal Wehrlein in Australia and China last year.

When asked if Ferrari’s decision will have any knock-on effects for Haas, Steiner replied: “No, because I don’t know what decision it is and where they are with them. We don’t really talk with them about that one.

“We will tell you that in a few weeks, where we are leaning [towards]. At the moment we are standing, we don’t have to lean.”

 

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