Here’s a potential list of the 10 F1 drivers Haas could be talking to for the 2021 Formula 1 season and beyond.
The Formula 1 driver market is riper than it’s been in the last few seasons. At the time of writing this post, at least 8 cockpits were vacant for the 2021 Formula 1 season. Here’s a quick look at the vacancies:
- Haas F1 Team x 2
- Alfa Romeo Racing x 2
- Alpha Tauri x 2
- Mercedes x 1
- Red Bull Racing x 1
Of these available seats, one expects that Mercedes will confirm Lewis Hamilton sooner rather than later. Likewise for the seat at Red Bull Racing, it’s understood that either Alexander Albon or Pierre Gasly will be signed up. Of course, it would be a very pleasant surprise if Red Bull Racing look outside their stable and hire a super-quick but out-of-work Sergio Perez. I don’t see this happening unless Liberty Media intervene.
The one team that stands to benefit the most is the Haas F1 Team. Guenther Steiner admitted that he had difficulty convincing drivers to race for the team when they started out in 2016. Cut to 2020, Steiner seems thoroughly pleased that there are at least 10 drivers he is in talks with to race for the Haas F1 Team from 2021. Here’s a potential list of the 10 F1 drivers Haas could be in talks with for a drive:
- Sergio Perez – the Mexican should be the most-obvious choice for teams with vacant seats for 2021. He brings experience, consistent performances, a fan following and sponsors (Haas definitely need a few after the Rich Energy fiasco!). The BIG question being – would a team like Haas interest Perez for the medium-long term?
- Nico Hulkenberg – the no-podium dents Hulkenberg’s record and undermines his talent. However, his two-race return with Racing Point was impressive and praise-worthy. But does Perez’s availability harm Hulkenberg’s chances for 2021? I think it does. A Perez-Hulkenberg pairing would be a very impressive if Haas went for it, but I think Haas will choose – 1 x experienced driver + 1 x Ferrari Driver Academy (this could attract discounts from Ferrari)
- Romain Grosjean – the Frenchman has raced for Haas since inception (2016). His continuation with the team and in Formula 1 is a surprise for many. His experience has served Haas well, especially in their difficult times last season. Grosjean wants to race in Formula 1 till 2027, but I highly doubt that his wish will come true. I believe that Haas-Grosjean will part ways at the of this season
- Kevin Magnussen – the Dane joined Haas in 2017 and has seemingly had the measure of Grosjean – at least on race day. The general perception is that Magnussen would be preferred over Grosjean, if Haas choose to retain at least one driver from their existing line-up. However, I believe that Haas will opt for a completely new driver line-up for 2021 with an eye on 2022 – when the new regulations come into force
- Pietro Fittipaldi – he comes with a famous last name and lineage from the world of Motorsport. However, Fittipaldi doesn’t have the experience or results in junior formulae to warrant a debut in Formula 1 in 2021. He makes it to the list purely because he is one of two test drivers for Haas
- Louis Deletraz – he is the team’s second test driver, hence makes it to the list. Deletraz had an impressive fourth place finish in the LMP1 category at the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans but he’s also spent four seasons in Formula 2 with limited success. Again, I expect his name to just make up the numbers
- Mick Schumacher – IF Haas opts for a Ferrari junior driver, I assume that Schumacher jr. would be their first preference. This would please Ferrari and Liberty Media, make Haas attractive to sponsors and fans. However, I believe that IF Schumacher makes his Formula 1 debut in 2021, it will be with Alfa Romeo Racing
- Robert Shwartzman – the 2019 Formula 3 champion has been impressive in his maiden Formula 2 campaign. After leading the championship in the early rounds, the Russian driver is currently 4th. Ferrari have indicated that Shwartzman might benefit from a second season in Formula 2. This might also help Ferrari create some space between their junior drivers lining up for a promotion to Formula 1. IF I were Haas and was opting for a Ferrari junior driver, I would push for Shwartzman
- Callum Illot – he’s the third Ferrari junior driver to have impressed in Formula 2 this year, also his second year in the series. The British driver is currently 2nd in the championship (behind Schumacher) and would be expecting a promotion ahead of Shwartzman. Let’s see if either get the nod!
- Robert Kubica – the Polish driver would bring experience as well as sponsors to Haas, if he were to be considered. Of course, his outright pace is under question after a lacklustre season at Williams. But could Haas (and Orlen!) give him a second chance at glory as he scripts his comeback to Formula 1?
- Antonio Giovinazzi – IF Schumacher joins Alfa Romeo along side Kimi Raikkonen, Giovinazzi will become available for Haas to consider for 2021. It would be an outside chance at best, if Giovinazzi finds himself at Haas not to mention a push from Ferrari, too.
It would be a BIG surprise if the final driver line-up for 2021 includes a driver outside of this list of the 10 F1 drivers Haas could be talking to. Let’s see who finally makes the cut. In the comments below, let me know what you think Haas’ driver line-up for 2021 could be.