Haas Formula 1 team in talks with 10 drivers for 2016

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the Formula 1 newcomer is in talks with up to 10 drivers over 2016 race seats, with experience crucial for potential employment

Haas Formula 1 team in talks with 10 drivers for 2016

Steiner is hoping by the end of September to have announced Haas' line-up, although is waiting for F1's driver market to start moving to offer him an idea as to who will definitely be available.

Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez is understood to top the list, alongside Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, although AUTOSPORT understands the Silverstone team is eager to retain the German's services for 2016.

Other names in the frame include former Toro Rosso F1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne, currently in Formula E with DS Virgin Racing, as well as Racing Engineering GP2 driver Alexander Rossi.

Assessing the recruitment picture, 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."

Behind the scenes at Formula 1's newest team

Steiner has been impressed by the fact the drivers contacted so far have all been receptive to the Haas F1 project.

But he concedes the over-riding factor in terms of who gets the drive is they are not an F1 rookie.

"It was a good response when we contacted them. Nobody was like 'Hey, this is new, I don't want to go there'," added Steiner.

"It's like 'Hey, tell me what you are doing? It sounds to me a good programme Mr Haas has put up here'.

"But experience and speed are important to us, experience for sure is very important because we're a new team and we need some known quantities.

"The whole team is new people put together. It's a lot of unknowns so we need a known quantity in there who, in the end, can tell us 'Hey guys, I think the car is good, but this part of the team doesn't work'.

"Or, the team works good, I've a good relationship with my race engineers, but the car isn't good and we need somebody who can see where we are at.

"So we need experience, and if the experience is coming with speed, even better."

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