Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has ruled out the possibility of signing American IndyCar hotshot Colton Herta for the 2021 Formula 1 season.

The US outfit is currently evaluating which drivers it wants to field in its brand-new driver line-up for 2021, after announcing it will drop long-serving duo Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen at the end of the year.

Speculation is rife about which drivers could end up joining Haas, which outlined its long-term ambitions to run an American driver in one of its cars when it entered F1 back in 2016.

Despite revealing Haas is open to running an all-rookie line-up as part of its realigned vision to capitalise on the incoming regulation overhaul in 2022, Steiner said that Herta - who is the youngest-ever IndyCar race winner - is not among the candidates it is considering.

Herta currently lies third in the championship heading into the final round of his sophomore campaign in the series at St. Petersburg this weekend, and is in line to surpass the revised 30-point requirement needed to be granted an F1 superlicence by the FIA.

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“I think Colton Herta is doing very well,” Steiner replied when asked by Crash.net if Herta was an option for Haas. “He’s one of the drivers when I watch IndyCar and I’m back in the States, actually. I think he’s doing a great job there.

“I haven’t spoken to him so we stop this speculation. We have had to stop speculation lately. But I respect a lot what he does. He’s very young, I think he’s got a great future but I think he’s pretty happy where he is at the moment, and therefore we didn’t talk to him.

“I know that he’s [been] based in Europe before and all that stuff but he’s in his second season in IndyCar and he’s with a good team there and the investors, I think they want to see him there.

“I haven’t spoken with him, but I have the utmost respect for him, what he’s doing there. But he will not be in our car next year.”

Formula 2 championship leader and Ferrari protege Mick Schumacher is believed to be leading the race for one of the vacant seats, while fellow F2 frontrunner Nikita Mazepin has also been heavily-linked with the team.

Steiner indicated that Haas is “maybe a month or so away” from being in a position to reveal its driver plans for 2021.

“We will try to announce as soon as possible who our drivers are so we stop this guessing but we are not at that point because we haven’t got signed contracts yet,” he added.

“So there would be no point to say something, this could be, this should be because then people just… if it doesn’t happen, then you have to again explain it, so people just need to be a little bit patient.

“Hopefully it isn’t long, maybe a month or so away, and then everybody gets to know but it’s just one of the things. If you do contracts, you are obliged not speak about it.”

And Steiner admitted Grosjean’s claim that the decision to axe both drivers was financially-driven was indeed a factor behind the shake-up.

“If you can find a driver that brings sponsors it’s fantastic or a driver that costs less,” Steiner explained.

“For me, in the moment, we need to invest our finances into the car, as I said, because next year’s car will be very similar to this year’s because some of the parts are homologated and frozen.

“And we need to focus on ’22 and we need to make an investment in the car and we need to use the money as best as we can for the money.”

 

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