Haas coy on Perez as Grosjean, Magnussen open to non-F1 moves

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While a strong choice, Haas says there's still some decisions to make before considering Sergio Perez for 2021.

The Mexican is arguably the biggest name currently on the market for next year, this after his exit from Racing Point was announced two weeks ago at Mugello.

As it stands, Haas also appear to be Perez's only alternative if he wants to stay in Formula 1 next year, with Alfa Romeo leaning towards Mick Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen, should the Finn decide to continue.

But while a deal may seem to make sense for both sides, team boss Guenther Steiner explained his thought process.

“There is nothing out there at the moment which is a no-brainer because there are so many options out there,” Steiner said ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

“We need to try to make the best decision for the team mid-to-long term, not only the immediate because immediately, we don’t have an issue. 

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“It’s not that we need some quick cash for next year, we are actually fine on that. It’s the mid-to-long term, how can we get better? How can we get the best out of the team? How can we get back to our performance of 2018 and better? I think there is more opportunity now with the budget cap coming from next year onwards and the new regulations for 2022.

“It’s a lot more complex… For sure Checo is a good driver, I would never doubt about him, but is he the best for the mid-to-long term? I don’t know. That is what we are discussing and therefore it’s not as much a no-brainer as it seems to be.”

At the other end of the experience scale is the plethora of young Ferrari juniors in F2 battling for an opportunity to reach F1.

And Steiner has admitted Haas would be willing to give Calum Ilott, Robert Shwartzman and Mick Schumacher a Friday practice outing.

“We could, I don’t know yet, that’s more a Ferrari thing if they ask us to help out," he explained.

“They are helping us out this year because we have got our issues this year with the COVID, so they are helping us and in the end, we’re helping each other.

“If they ask, I would be open to discussing it at least.”

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As for their current drivers, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, both are openly admitting they may have to look beyond F1 for 2021.

“Yeah I mean yes obviously there aren’t many seats left in Formula 1, there are many candidates, I understand the point of view from Haas as well and not being in a rush,” Grosjean commented.

“I don’t think I’m in a rush either, there are options elsewhere as well, which can be interesting, but obviously Formula 1 is Formula 1 and coming from Mugello, driving those cars there, it is absolutely unique what I’m driving, so Formula 1 is still very appealing in that aspect."

But if the Frenchman did have to look elsewhere...

"IndyCar, beautiful championship, but I’m not really tempted by ovals and they even scare me,” he added.

“I don’t want to do ovals, so for America, there’s a few endurance championships but in the future Hypercar in Le Mans and WEC is nice.

“Formula E is definitely an option, there are some good drivers and team there. Formula 1, everyone can do the maths and see where the seats available are.”