Haas is yet to make a final call over who its drivers will be for the 2021 Formula 1 season following Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen’s exits, but “anything is possible” according to team boss Guenther Steiner.

The American squad announced on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix that Grosjean and Magnussen will be leaving the team at the end of the year, paving the way for an all-new driver line-up for 2021.

Facing the media on Thursday, Steiner revealed that Haas is yet to decide on who it will place in its spare seats for next season. While Steiner refused to reveal who is in contention, he did confirm the team is now “down to a lot less people now” from its original shortlist of at least 10 drivers.

Formula 2 racer Nikita Mazepin - who boasts significant financial backing - has been heavily linked with the team, as have Ferrari juniors Mick Schumacher and Robert Shwartzman. Haas has not ruled out running two rookies next year.

Asked if Haas is ideally looking for at least one driver who could bring money to the team, Steiner replied: “We could be, as well - money and talent.

“I mean talent always needs to be there, not only money, talent is more important, but some people have got sponsorship they bring with them so we are looking at all the options out there as well.

“We have got quite a few things we can choose from,” he added. “There are quite a few opportunities out there and they aren’t going away

"The market is pretty small this year, I think we have lucked into that one this year, which is why we are not in a hurry to make the announcement.”

Steiner revealed Haas made its decision to part ways with Grosjean and Magnussen “about 2-3 weeks ago” and informed both drivers last week.

He explained the timing of Haas’ announcement, stressing that the team wanted to be “fair” to Grosjean and Magnussen by giving them as much time as possible to secure their future plans for next season and beyond.

“We wanted to be fair to them,” Steiner said. “We could have kept that for us for a while and then just do it but I think the guys were good with us for the last years, so we said we’re going to do some changes and therefore we wanted to tell them so they have the chance to find something else.

“If we tell them only whenever we decide who is going to drive the car, maybe end of the year, they would have a less chance to find something to drive next year.

“It is very difficult as you all know, as much as we have ups and downs in our relationship,” he added.

“In the end you don’t stay with people this amount of time, 4-5 years, if you don’t like them. So it’s always difficult to do these things.

“I need to look after the team in general and they both are very understanding, for sure they are not happy - who would be - but they had a good understanding and they know that we gave them a good run at that as well, so it wasn’t only good for us it was good for them as well.

“There is no bad blood running between us and we want to get to the end of the season hopefully scoring a few more points as well. As much as it is difficult I need to look at the team and that is why I have to make these decisions, it’s part of my job, even if it is difficult things to do.”

 

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