Jun.6 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Haas, F1’s new American entrant for 2016, has played down the prospect of Danica Patrick switching from Nascar.
American Patrick, 33, is one of the highest profile racing drivers in the world, and she already drives for Gene Haas in the premier stock car series.
“It would put us on the map one way or another,” Haas F1 team principal Gunther Steiner admitted to British Sky television in Canada.
“But I think Danica is quite happy where she is at the moment. For her to make the move is a big risk; I don’t she really wants to do it at this stage in her career,” he added.
Steiner said the right move for Haas would be to focus on finding an experienced driver for 2016 rather than a rookie American.
One name increasingly linked with Haas is Nico Hulkenberg.
The German admitted again on Friday that he is “definitely impatient” at present as he waits for struggling Force India’s ‘B’ car to debut later this year.
At the same time, the German has diluted his focus on F1 in 2015 to also race at Le Mans, and will in fact board a plane to the scene of the fabled 24 hour event immediately after Sunday’s chequered flag in Montreal.
Force India’s Vijay Mallya says he wants Hulkenberg to stay in 2016, but the 27-year-old German is also keeping his options open.
“Yes,” he told F1’s official website, “you need to have a good idea when a possible door could open. You need to be ready.”
Linking up with Haas would be one way for Hulkenberg to take a step closer to Ferrari.
The Italian team is helping Haas to prepare for 2016, and the FIA in fact recently looked into whether Haas’ aero programme in the Ferrari wind tunnel is above board.
Haas’ Steiner said in Montreal: “We have nothing to hide.”
And a Ferrari spokesman was also quoted by Speed Week: “Ferrari has agreements for the supply of engines and also a technical partnership with Haas.
“But there is no common wind tunnel programme. Everything is separate and there is not even a crossover of any staff.”