Ex-Manor, Sauber F1 driver Wehrlein approached Haas about 2020 seat

Pascal Wehrlein approached Haas about a return to Formula 1 with the team for 2020, but his time away from the championship ultimately counted against him

Wehrlein, who raced for Manor in 2016 and Sauber the following year, has spent the last two years competing first in DTM and more recently in Formula E.

He has kept close ties to F1 through his role as a Ferrari simulator driver and, according to team boss Gunther Steiner, approached Haas to see if it would consider him for an F1 seat for 2020.

But Steiner, speaking to German Formula 1 podcast 'Starting Grid', explained that Haas's preference for experienced current drivers meant Wehrlein could not be put on the short list.

"He's been out of Formula 1 for two years now," explained Steiner.

"He was at the track a few races ago and he came to visit me and asked me if there was a possibility.

"I said, 'Unfortunately not'. For the reason that he wasn't in Formula 1 for two years.

"We want someone who has experience and has been in F1 for a long time."

While Haas has Kevin Magnussen under contract for next year, its second seat remains open as the outfit evaluates whether to retain Romain Grosjean or replace him with Nico Hulkenberg.

A decision could come before the next race in Singapore.

"It's between Nico and Romain," added Steiner. "We haven't made the final decision yet, but it will happen soon."

Steiner said Hulkenberg is a "very good driver", and that it was Grosjean's lack of consistency that meant the team needed to think carefully about what it did for 2020.

"Romain is definitely good on a good day," said Steiner. "But sometimes he has a few days that aren't so good.

"That's the problem with him."

Steiner also refused to be drawn on whether Hulkenberg's financial demands would be a potential block to a deal being done.

"I don't want to discuss Nico's finances - whether he has enough money, whether he wants more," he said.

"That's for him to decide.

"It's not just about finances and the last race. For us it's more about the team: What have we achieved, what do we want to achieve?"

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