Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has stated that he could be eyeing Esteban Ocon in 2019. He firmly said that Ferrari has no power in influencing their 2019 lineup. Providing Haas with parts is one of the perks of the Ferrari-Haas relationship. In addition to that, Ferrari have previously used the team to test drivers from their Academy. However, Steiner said that any line-up decision is his jurisdiction.
Ferrari juniors Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi have both tested Haas cars before. Now, Leclerc has been linked with a switch to the American team in 2019 after impressing with Sauber.
Ferrari are eager to see Leclerc earn a promotion up the order before a Scuderia seat opens. However, Steiner will not budge under any pressure from Maranello. According to him, a move for Ocon could suit as the Frenchman scrambles to save his F1 future.
“We could take him, we may decide not to take him,” Steiner said. “But we can decide that, it’s our judgement that counts. We’re not told what to do.
“It’s more a philosophical thing for us. We have got a good partner in Ferrari.
“I respect Ocon, he’s a very good driver, but why would we do that, to maybe get into controversial stuff about this?”
Steiner added of Leclerc: “There are a few serious candidates out there who still don’t have a seat. There are not many left, he’s obviously one of them but I don’t know what he’s going to do.
“I have no information what he’s going to do, if he’s staying at Sauber, his contractual situation with them, or with Ferrari.
“He’s doing a great job, I think. He’s stepped up. Last year I wouldn’t say we were afraid about the rookie status, but he has passed that one. I have a lot of respect for the guy.”
Daniel Ricciardo‘s move to Renault triggered F1’s ‘silly season’ in the summer break. However, Haas disassociated themselves from the cesspool and did their business behind closed doors.
“We are not part of this madness. We are in a good place,” Steiner said.
“And I would love to announce it today who we have, but it’s just a few things we need to figure out, and then we will do it. We are very confident of the position we are in. We have nothing to hurry.
“I’m not losing any sleep about not having two good drivers next year, because we have got two ones now, so we are good.”