It was announced earlier this week that the Haas F1 Team is not planning to make a decision on its driver line-up for 2017 until the end of the European season in September.
The all-new American team has experienced a rollercoaster debut year in F1, with Romain Grosjean scoring all of the team’s 28 points while Esteban Gutierrez’s car has been plagued by reliability issues. Grosjean’s contract is believed to extend into 2017, but Gutierrez’s position at the team next year is less clear.
In a statement to the media earlier this week, Haas Team principal Guenther Steiner says no discussions about the 2017 line-up will begin until after the Italian Grand Prix. Steiner said the following:-
‘Nothing has been decided and we haven’t even talked about it,” he said. “I’ve spoken specifically with Gene [Haas], and we’ve said we’re not talking about drivers or what we are doing until the European season is over.’
Further on in his interview with the media, Steiner is wary that speculation about driver contracts could take the team’s focus away from its push for performance. Steiner added the following:-
‘It’s a distraction. In the end we know what everybody can do, but we need to see a little bit more, and where we want to be. We need to see also as a team what we want to achieve next year. There is so much that is not clear about where we are.
‘But as soon as the European season is over we need to start to make decisions, because we need to get things moving. You don’t just call somebody up and say something, there are negotiations and all this.
‘We actively do not want to talk about drivers until the European season ends because we would just get opinions out there that people would misinterpret.’