Haas insist talent more than important than money in 2021 driver search

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Haas chief Guenther Steiner has maintained that talent is more important than money as the team decides its 2021 drivers.

Earlier on Thursday, both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen announced they would be leaving the American squad at the end of this year after being teammates since 2017.

As for their replacements, speculation says Formula 2 driver Nikita Mazepin is very close to one seat, with his billionaire father Dmitry set to heavily back the Russian.

But while Haas does need to improve its financial situation in the wake of Covid-19, Steiner maintains that isn't the main factor in picking their new line-up.

"I mean talent always needs to be there, not only money, talent is more important, but some people have got sponsorship they bring with them so we are looking at all the options out there as well," he said ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix.

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"We have got quite a few things we can choose from. There are quite a few opportunities out there and they aren’t going away.

"The market is pretty small this year, I think we have lucked into that one this year, which is why we are not in a hurry to make the announcement."

Just last year, the Haas boss ruled out taking on two young drivers, citing the still relative youth of the team itself, which is currently in its fifth season on the grid.

However, now that view is very different.

“If you have got a very good experienced one, and a rookie who finds it difficult to find his way, he loses his confidence. Is that good? No. Look at what happened to a lot of people who were in the same team as Max [Verstappen]," Steiner said.

“They all struggle because he is so good, and then a rookie comes in and it’s not good for him. Maybe two rookies is a good thing, I don’t know that yet.

“That is one of the things we are evaluating as well, do we need one experienced one or not, or can we do it with two rookies? 

"Sometimes, just trying something different, it helps as well to learn about it, and sometimes learns that you shouldn’t have done it as well. I’m fully aware of that one.”

As for Haas' outgoing drivers, Steiner revealed Grosjean and Magnussen were informed they would be leaving three weeks ago.

"We wanted to be fair to them," he explained. "We could have kept that for us for a while and then just do it but I think the guys were good with us for the last years, so we said we’re going to do some changes and therefore we wanted to tell them so they have the chance to find something else.

"If we tell them only whenever we decide who is going to drive the car, maybe the end of the year, they would have a less chance to find something to drive next year."

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He also admitted the decision to drop both drivers was far from easy.

"It is very difficult as you all know, as much as we have ups and downs in our relationship,” he added.

"In the end, you don’t stay with people this amount of time, four-five years, if you don’t like them. So it’s always difficult to do these things.

"I need to look after the team in general and they both are very understanding, for sure they are not happy - who would be - but they had a good understanding and they know that we gave them a good run at that as well, so it wasn’t only good for us it was good for them as well.

"There is no bad blood running between us and we want to get to the end of the season hopefully scoring a few more points as well."