It was recently announced that both Romain Gorsjean and Kevin Magnussen would be leaving Haas at the end of the season, leaving two seats up for grabs in 2021. Grosjean has been with the team since the beginning and initially announced his departure on Facebook. This was later confirmed by Haas, accompanied by the news that Magnussen would also lose his seat with them at the end of the season. So what does the future hold for Haas and their two current drivers?
It seems to me that Grosjean is ready to move on. Perhaps he has recognised and come to terms with the idea that his time with Haas was coming to an end. His post on social media stated “The last chapter is closed and the book is finished.” Not only does this feel like a goodbye to Haas but a farewell to the sport in general. Magnussen, on the other hand, seems like he is still fighting for a spot within F1, explaining, “I am still working on my plans for the future, which I will announce in due course.”
With Grosjean and Magnussen leaving, there are now two available seats within Haas, with the team having plenty of options of who to appoint. For me, Haas have two options: they can either go for experience with the likes of Nico Hulkenburg and Sergio Perez, or they could look to bring in some youth. There is an abundance of young talent rising through the ranks of Formula 2, all of whom are itching to get a seat in Formula 1.
Both Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez have proven track records in Formula 1 and are both currently without a seat for the 2021 season. With Haas moving on from the partnership of Grosjean and Magnussen, they will surely have both Hulkenberg and Perez knocking on their door and enquiring about a seat in 2021. There have even been rumours that Nico Rosberg could return to drive for the team. To have an ex-world champion drive for them would be a massive coup. There are plenty of experienced options that Haas could go for, which would be a welcome addition to try and settle the team after a difficult season and bring back a bit of morale.
Alternatively, they could go for youth. The Formula 2 season has been really competitive this year with plenty of drivers showing they may have what it takes to take the next step into Formula 1. Personally, I think Mick Schumacher is the most likely to make this move. He is currently leading the F2 championship, was lined up to have a practice run with Alfa Romeo (only for it to be called of because of the rain) and is also a part of the Ferrari driver academy, Haas’ engine supplier. In addition to all this he has the name Schumacher – the influence of which cannot be understated.
Another obvious option is Nikita Mazepin. If it was indeed a financial decision to dismiss Grosjean and Magnussen, then Mazepin could be the replacement Haas are looking for. With a very wealthy dad we could see a similar situation to Lance Stroll, whereby his family invests in the team to guarantee a seat for Mazepin in F1. And Mazepin has shown himself to be a handy driver as well, having won the feature race at Silverstone and Mugello.
However, there are plenty more options that Haas could go for; Callum Ilott has been very impressive in F2 currently sitting in second place and still fighting for the championship and, like Schumacher, he is also a part of the Ferrari driver academy. They could even go for a mix of experience and youth, bringing in one of the experienced heads to nurture one of the younger drivers through their first few years in F1.
In my opinion, it is too much of a short term fix, a plaster over a massive crack in the teams foundations, to just bring in two older F1 drivers. If Haas is going to reboot they need to do it properly, bring in one or two young talented drivers and look to the future beyond next season. But they need to do more than that- they need to look beyond just their driver line up and make new appointments elsewhere as well. They can’t blame all their problems on the drivers and ignore the rest of the team. The future of Haas hangs in the balance over this decision and they need to look at a sustained presence within F1 instead of a short term progress plan based on points for next season.
What do you think? Should Haas go for youth or should they look more towards experience?
Featured image from Haas F1 Facebook page