DRIVERS WANTED? Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner says choosing the right driver is imperative for the new team. Image: AFP / Jared C Tilton
London, England - The new US-owned Haas F1 team has poured cold water on hopes it could have an American race driver when the team makes its debut in 2016.
Team principal Guenther Steiner told the official www.formula1.com website on Wednesday (September 9): "There is nobody out there at the moment.
"Yes, there are drivers in GP2 and Formula Three, but having a rookie in a new team... that is difficult for both sides. The potential of such a partnership failing is pretty high.
Rookies are a risk
"So at the moment we'd rather not be looking at that avenue, because you are also not helping an inexperienced driver - he could be burned in one season. We are new, so we need a known quantity in the team."
Californian Alexander Rossi, a race winner in the GP2 support series, had hoped to step up to F1 with the first US-based team since 1986.
Rossi, 23, has been a reserve for both the failed Caterham and tail-end Marussia teams.
The new team will compete with Ferrari engines and have bases in three countries - a headquarters in North Carolina, race team factory in England and a design and aerodynamics department in Italy.
Haas, whose-owner Gene Haas has enjoyed success in Nascar, expects to announce at least one of their drivers by the end of September.
Ferrari's Mexican reserve Esteban Gutierrez is regarded as a strong candidate, with Lotus's French driver Romain Grosjean also featuring in paddock speculation.
Haas has said his dream line-up would be a driver from the Ferrari squad and another with F1 race experience.
Steiner said: "We are very close to some drivers - and at the end of September we will come forward. It is good to get another box ticked."
He said the team would start manufacturing the chassis in the next few weeks, and were using the Ferrari wind tunnel at Maranello every other week, with their formal entry to the championship due to be submitted in October.
He said: "Our pit equipment is rolling in - we have bought everything new or got it custom-made - and the people for the race team are joining. It is growing with every day. In January is the FIA crash test. So yes, a very intense time."