The owner of the Haas Formula 1 team Gene Haas has clarified his team's position on Amercian drivers in F1. Last month, team principal Guenther Steiner angered several drivers in the US after he claimed that there was "nobody ready for F1 in the United States."
Former F1 champion Mario Andretti said that the team was "wrong and arrogant" for its stance. But now Gene Haas has set out to clarify the meaning of Steiner's words, stating that there would be no point bringing in a driver who is not experienced in F1 to a new team.
"Gunther was asked about having an American driver in Formula 1 and, more specifically, with the Haas F1 team," he said. "He responded by saying something to the effect that it wasn't at the top of our priority list, and things kind of took off in a bunch of different directions as people made a bunch of assumptions. The fact is that we're still learning here in Formula 1, and bringing on a driver who needs to learn about Formula 1 probably isn't the best thing for us or them."
However, Haas said that once he feels like his team is fully functioning and are well established on the grid, an American driver could be a possibility: "We're not saying no to having an American driver, but the reality is that of the American drivers who have a superlicense and could actually compete in F1, they should really be with a team that can serve as their benchmark rather than the other way around.
"Now, we fully expect to eventually be in that position -- ideally, sooner rather than later -- but this is only our third year and we need to improve in a variety of areas, and Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen are playing a big part in that improvement because of their experience.
"They help us, rather quickly, determine if the course we're taking is a proper one or if we need to re-think our approach. That experience is invaluable as we look to become a team that can eventually challenge for podiums instead of just points."