Haas F1 could help develop younger drivers for Scuderia Ferrari going forward, team principal Gunther Steiner told Racer in a recent interview.
Ferrari currently enjoys a close relationship with Haas, who are newcomers to Formula 1 for 2016. Haas hired on 2015 Ferrari reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez to pilot one of its cars this season, himself a graduate of the Ferrari junior program, and says it could take on other Ferrari hopefuls in the future.
“Ferrari helped us out this year to find a driver,” said Steiner. “Last year, we were looking at drivers and they had one in Esteban so we took him.
“If Ferrari have a good development driver in their stable it is maybe too early to take into their team because Ferrari is Ferrari. Ferrari don’t want to test a driver, they want a finished product there – so if they ask us to have him for a year or two to develop him, why not?”
Next in line for a Haas seat could be Formula 3’s Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque driver has driven in three practice sessions with Haas so far this year and also tested the Ferrari SF16-H at Silverstone. In theory, Leclerc could race with Haas for a couple of years before making the jump to Ferrari once he’s more experienced.
Haas’ 2017 driver lineup is currently undecided. Romain Grosjean has already been confirmed for next year, however Gutierrez future is still up in the air. If Leclerc can win the F3 championship, which he currently leads by 22 points, and qualify for an F1 superlicense, he could nicely positioned for an eventual seat at Ferrari.