It has been reiterated that an American driver isn’t at the top of their shopping list to create the ‘home run’ of their team, according to team owner Gene Haas.
Ever since the project had been announce, many had speculated that only an American driver in an American team would enthuse that of the public, with many pointing to Alexander Rossi as a possible option. He instead went with Manor for half a season before moving to IndyCar, where he won the Indy 500, one of the ‘big 3’ motorsport events along with the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans.
The team also has Santino Ferrucci on their books who currently drives in GP3, but certainly won’t be ready for a seat in Formula One next season. It also comes at a time where the team have confirmed Esteban Gutierrez has underperformed this season, also Romain Grosjean has also struggled with the car at times. As the team has bases in North Carolina, Banbury and Italy, Haas suggested it was a global effort, rather than just an American team.
In the press conference on Friday, Haas said: “I’ve heard that question quite a few times and when we started, to me it wasn’t really that important because in a global economy, especially in America, it seems like everybody sources the best products and people from all over the world.
“Even today, if you look at the number of people we employ in Kannapolis and we employ people in Banbury, UK and we employ people at Dallara, we have people all over the world and that’s what makes Haas Formula One. So I kind of think of my team like the United Nations, it’s just got people from all over the world.
“It would be nice to have an American driver but probably the most important thing for us, a new, inexperienced team, we need to have established Formula One drivers so it’s a little bit of a contrary problem for us in that there are really no American Formula One drivers that have experience that I think would work with us.
“As we become more experienced then maybe we could take the chances that some of the other teams do with an inexperienced driver because their cars are known, their teams are known, you put in an inexperienced driver you can help them but until we get to that position, I think we have to be a little bit cautious about taking an inexperienced American driver.
“I think from a marketing standpoint it would be a home run to have one but at the moment it’s not really that high on the agenda because we are more concerned about just being able to compete here every week with the current teams.”