Oct.19 (GMM) Gunther Steiner says he is not actively negotiating with Nico Hulkenberg about a Haas seat for 2021.
The revelation follows rumours last week that the small American team is shaping up to run the heavily-backed Russian Nikita Mazepin alongside a Ferrari junior driver next year.
“I haven’t spoken to Nico in the last few weeks,” team boss Steiner told Sport1.
“As a team, we have to know what we want before we approach people. Nico is very respected in F1 and we know what he can do, but it would be dishonest of us to talk to people before knowing what is best for us.”
Steiner admitted he sat down to talk with Russian F2 driver Mazepin’s wealthy father Dmitry at the recent Sochi race.
“Mr Mazepin senior wants his son to drive in Formula 1,” Steiner admits. “And his son wants it probably even more than that.
“But we have to decide first where we want to go. Only then do we sit down with people who are interested in working with us.”
Steiner also does not deny that engine and technology partner Ferrari may request a seat for one of its juniors – Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott or Robert Shwartzman.
“We work very closely with Ferrari, so if we get drivers out of Formula 2, they will most likely be Ferrari drivers,” he said.
The most prominent Ferrari junior is Schumacher.
“I would definitely not be against that,” Steiner said. “Who wouldn’t want a Schumacher back in Formula 1? Especially in the form he is in currently.
“But the decision about who Ferrari sends on is up to Ferrari, not us. We can say we want one or the other, but I don’t know the contracts Ferrari has with its juniors,” he added.
“I am talking to Mr Mazepin as much as I am with Nico and with Ferrari.
“There are many talks and we have to come to a decision soon, because we need to announce to everyone whether we keep the same drivers or not and to prepare ourselves well for the future.”