Would you be mad if Haas F1 didn’t sign any American drivers?

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says that they are looking at ten drivers for their 2016 campaign and many suggest that Ferrari reserve driver and former Sauber driver, Esteban Gutierrez, is on top of the list. Sure, Carlos Slim money and a Ferrari driver makes for an easier dot-connecting exercise but it isn’t the driver I’d put in the newly minted Haas F1 chassis for next year. Regardless, his money and Ferrari connections would most likely change my mind.

With ten rivers in the mix, some say that Nico Hulkenberg and Jean-Eric Vergne are in play and one cannot discount a jettisoned Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Felipe Massa should one of them lose their ride at the end of this season.

The AUTOSPORT article says that American Alexander Rossi is in consideration as well but with the names previously mentioned, would you be ok if Haas F1 took a pass on an American driver in 2016?

Is it essential for you or Haas F1 to have an American driver? Some suggest that the lack of American interest in the sport is due to the lack of an American driver but Scott Speed did little to support that theory when he was at Toro Rosso.

For me personally, it wouldn’t bother me if the team chose to go with Gutierrez for political reasons and Hulkenberg, JEV or a few others that are currently on the grid. For some, that will ring as blasphemy given it is an American-owned team. For me, it’s just prudence and logical that the team need all the experience they can get if they choose to go with Esteban. Steiner said:

“We are talking with about 10 people – some are higher up the list, some are lower, but we also want to see who is out there.

“It’s still difficult to find out who is actually available, because it hasn’t been decided who is going where.

“We would like to make a decision by the end of summer because then we can get prepared for the driver. The car needs to fit the driver.

“Also we’ve got time to explain to our driver what we are doing because we are new and he needs to help us as well; what do you want from us to help us get ready to do things?

“So by September I hope we have made a decision for at least one, if not two. Ideally it would be two.

“But we have interesting candidates, which is very nice for us, drivers with a good reputation who are talking to us seriously, so I hope we can pull some of them off.”

I’m more interested in getting Haas F1 seated in F1 and on solid footing in the first season or two than I am getting an American driver in the seat. That could come in time but right now, they need to have a car that can score points.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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Derek

I put myself in the arm chair quaterback seat all look at who I’d pick for Haas and who I’d like to see. I’ll start with the show stopper and say Button and Rossi. Haas wants a vet and a young driver. I see Button as the best you can get for a new team (A big part of me also thinks him and Alonso are also a fantatic duo for McLaren-Honda’s starting year(s)). I pick Button because Haas needs a veteran like Button that the team can get behind and connect with. Button has shown himself to be a… Read more »

Junipero Mariano

Since most of the teams have international pairings anyway, I don’t it would matter to American fans anyway. It would be nice, but definitely not a high priority. Besides, where do you consider the team to have its home. Most of the headquarter in Britain, the big exception being Ferrari, neither of whose drivers are Italian. They seem to do best with native German speaking drivers, anyways ;). After all, it’s the USA! Isn’t one of the core values of the United States is that if you had a rough time back at the homeland, well by golly, come on… Read more »

geeyore

It’s a secondary consideration. First is to build a winning team, whatever the nationalities. It would be a good thing to have Rossi, but it’s not critical. What’s really critical (in terms of American interest) is to sort out the immediate problems of F1 and to develop an American broadcast equivalent to Sky Sports F1, because the NBC Sports offering is grossly substandard (“Is this NASCAR?”) and has irrational scheduling.

runnah

I think most Americans could get behind Carmen Jorda.

Paul KieferJr

I think that every human male could get behind Carmen Jorda. :-D

Paul KieferJr

So, to play “Devil’s Advocate”, these questions come to mind:
1. Do you believe that there is no American driver worthy of F1?
2. How much are you concerned about US popularity with regards to F1?

SoothSayerCA

I could live with a up and coming driver, Gutierrez or similar and Button or Kimi with Rossi as test/3rd driver for the first year with a commitment to promote Rossi in ’17 if he meets requirements.

Derek

I think there is a high chance that Haas does at the least reach out to Rossi for a possible promotion up into the team. It’d be interesting if they didn’t look to keep him in the feeder series for 2016 with a Haas sponsor deal, them promote in up to the F1 team for 2017 like you said. This might be a less risky way to check him out.

mikewmartin

Obviously, as a long time American F1 fan, I would love to see a competitive American in a competitive car but I haven’t seen that person yet. It would be fun to see a big name star of NASCAR or IndyCar in F1 but that’s not going to happen so at the end of the day, I hope Mr. Haas can get a couple of competitive drivers with F1 experience regardless of their home country.

charlie white

Mad? No. Disappointed? Yes. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been lied to as an American F1 fan. The long forgotten Red Bull Drivers’ Academy which brought the last USA driver into F1 Scott Speed should had brought more American drivers forward, it didn’t. I hope Rossi gets a strong consideration-he’s been burned twice by Caterham and Marussia out of a opportunity.

jakobusvdl

Typically a start up teams driver selections aren’t made on the basis of the Team Owners ‘nationality’ – Force India, didn’t hire Indian drivers, Toyota didn’t hire Japanese drivers, Caterham didn’t have Malaysian drivers, Stewart F1 didn’t have Scottish drivers, BMW didn’t hire German drivers, etc etc. We don’t expect teams to hire designers, engineers, mechanics based no nationality, we just expect them to hire the best talent they can find, isn’t that true of drivers too?

SamWah

An American driver is not essential to me at start-up. No-no for Nico–he should get a seat at an established top-half team.

dude

There’s not enough American F1 fans to be mad about it.

KMK90

I think any American F1 Fan would love to see a American in the seat of a American team. (Am I getting paid every time I say “American”?)

But being a new team and no experienced American F1 drivers on the grid, I think it would be silly to throw him/her into that seat. I believe they need a experienced driver in the seat to help with the early years.

Maybe they could get Rossi as the 3rd/development driver and ease him into F1.

ltomn

This isn’t about nationality! In a sport that commands $100m and up to participate in, this is business. Haas should get the best driver and support package they can negotiate and nothing less.

jiji the cat

i generally don’t get behind the whole nationalistic approach, however in saying that; as an aussie i was delighted when paul stoddart gave a young mark webber a go as australia had not had an F1 driver for a very long time. So i guess i would sympathise with any of the americans who would feel a little miffed or down if one of there own was overlooked.

GaryK

Juan Montoya and Sage Karam.