BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Formula One’s driver market is waiting for Ferrari and Renault to make the first moves, but Haas are also attracting plenty of interest, team principal Guenther Steiner told reporters on Thursday.
“I wouldn’t say we are shopping around. A lot of people are shopping with us,” he told reporters at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“There are people asking, for obvious reasons. They want to see what we are doing.”
Steiner said the U.S.-owned team, who currently have Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen and Frenchman Romain Grosjean as their drivers, planned to decide after the August holiday on their 2019 lineup.
It would be a surprise if Magnussen did not stay, given his strong showing with six scoring finishes, but Grosjean’s future appears uncertain with points in only two races — albeit one of them a fourth place — and plenty of costly crashes.
Haas, who use Ferrari engines and are closely aligned with the Italian team, are sixth in the standings and level on points with fifth-placed Force India. They have scored points in the last four races.
“At the moment we don’t think about it but a lot of people are asking so you know what’s going on in the market place,” said Steiner of a ‘silly season’ that is focussed mainly on midfield teams.
“At the moment it’s more gossip because nobody has pulled the trigger yet on anybody.
“Everybody is looking everywhere but nobody is deciding what to do. One of the first moves will be what is Ferrari going to do for the future, what is Renault going to do? And then we small guys come.”
Ferrari are mulling whether to replace 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen with Sauber’s Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc while Renault are tipped to take Frenchman Esteban Ocon from Force India.
That would trigger a chain reaction with Raikkonen and Renault’s Spaniard Carlos Sainz on the market while Canadian Lance Stroll may switch to Force India and leave a vacancy at Williams.
Mercedes could seek to place Britain’s George Russell at Force India or Williams, both teams that use the German engines, if the current series leader wins the Formula Two title.
That could also influence the future of Mexican Sergio Perez, currently at Force India.
“We can decide before, we don’t have to wait for their decisions,” said Steiner of potential moves elsewhere.
“Maybe we have decided already without knowing what they are doing, but their deciding will trigger the market.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis