Haas F1 Team principal says Esteban Ocon is key to Formula 1 silly season07/27/2019
Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon shows off at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Esteban Ocon could very likely be the first domino to fall in Formula 1 silly season — that time of the when driver lineups are set for the 2020 season.
That is the view of Haas F1 Team principal Guenther Steiner, who admits that after his drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen collided again at Silverstone recently, Haas’ next lineup is being considered.
“I was very angry and I was right,” Haas boss Steiner told media outlet Sky Italia at Hockenheim, Germany — site of this weekend’s F1 German Grand Prix. “We had clear agreements after what happened in Barcelona, and they did not behave as we expected.”
If a Haas driver is replaced it is likely to be Grosjean, who has made mistakes, been generally outpaced by Magnussen and is also out of contract. Grosjean, 33, is a career-worst 17th in the F1 drivers’ standings with just two points scored this season.
Magnussen is already under contract for 2020.
When asked about the driver market, Steiner said: “There is calm at the moment. A domino needs to fall to start it moving and this has not yet happened. I think what happens with Ocon will be decisive.”
Indeed, the Mercedes reserve driver is linked with the works team, which would make Valtteri Bottas available. But if Ocon goes to Renault or Racing Point, Nico Hulkenberg or Sergio Perez may then be on the market.
Steiner said of Ocon: “He has always been at the level of (Red Bull’s Max) Verstappen, so I think he will be one of those pieces that will make the market move.”
If Steiner could pick a dream driver for Haas, Steiner admitted: “(Lewis) Hamilton is my dream driver, he’s the numero uno of the day.
“Fernando Alonso? I don’t think a two-time world champion would come to our team.”
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