Haas F1 Team’s close relationship with Scuderia Ferrari has served it well in its first few seasons. And it apparently almost led to a driver change for the American Formula One team ahead of 2018.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner told RACER on Friday that Ferrari asked it to drop one of its two drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, after the 2017 season to make way for one of its junior racers. Both Magnussen and Grosjean still are under contract with Haas, so the team declined.
The two teams have a close technical partnership — similar to that of NASCAR teams Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Motorsports — that sees the Italian manufacturer supply as many parts to the independent outfit as the regulations allow, and Ferrari allows Haas to use its wind tunnel. Despite that, Steiner is confident that its refusal to replace Magnussen or Grosjean will not impact that relationship.
“We work very closely with Ferrari together on things but they respect our decisions,” Steiner said. “We are very open with them about what we are doing because that’s the only way the partnership works — there is no playing games.”
Although Steiner admitted that change sometimes can do an organization good, he noted that Haas is in its infancy, and therefor wants consistency at the driver level — something it will have for the first time next season.
“We’re only in our second year and sometimes you forget that,” Steiner said. “It looks like we’ve been here forever now but we’ve not. Like in any business or sport, you have your ups and downs but I think we are pretty stable and for sure the drivers are helping to grow the team.”
Thumbnail photo via Haas F1 Team