Charles Coates/Getty Images
Team principal Guenther Steiner has insisted Haas are unwilling to delay a decision regarding their 2017 driver lineup, confirming an announcement will be made after September’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
While Romain Grosjean is almost certain to remain with Haas, doubts remain over the future of Esteban Gutierrez, who has failed to score a point in the opening 12 races of 2016 and has frequently criticised the team in public.
With Charles Leclerc replacing Gutierrez in the first practice sessions in Britain, Hungary and Germany, it is possible the team could promote the Ferrari-affiliated youngster alongside Grosjean for 2017.
Haas could also find themselves in a position to sign a more experienced driver should the likes of Massa, Button and Renault’s Kevin Magnussen leave their current teams.
At the end of last year, team owner Gene Haas told the official F1 website of his fondness for Magnussen, who he said would have been signed by the American outfit had they been unable to lure Grosjean from Lotus.
But Steiner has revealed Haas are not prepared to wait much longer, hinting the team may favour stability ahead of 2017’s major regulations changes.
According to Motorsport.com’s Pablo Elizalde and Noble, he said:
I don’t think we want to wait this long, because you risk it. If you know where you are, it’s better than having uncertainty.
We are very confident we can say it after Monza. We do what we want to do.
It gives the team certainty and you can focus on next year, on the car, and on performance.
Per the same source, Steiner added that Haas, who sit eighth in the constructors’ standings, will introduce their first aerodynamic upgrades of 2016 at the Singapore GP, but he insisted their focus is very much on avoiding second-season syndrome next year. He said:
These parts were developed in March/April and just went into production a little bit later. We didn’t want to rush them because we want to get better with production as well for next year.
As everybody knows, the second year is the most difficult one and it still will be, but we’ll try to do as much as possible not to make mistakes in the second year. Everybody is waiting to tell us, ‘We told you so.’ You guys, basically.
Meanwhile, Haas has revealed his team are no longer “scrambling” to resolve problems with their VF-16 car, telling Autosport (h/t Eurosport) how they are more “organised” despite securing just two points finishes in the last 10 races.
He added Haas should be even “better” in 2017 after a mostly impressive debut campaign.