Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has not ruled out the possibility of signing Esteban Ocon in 2019, and says Ferrari hold no power to prevent them from offering the Mercedes-back driver a seat. Ferrari provide Haas with all listed parts, and have previously used the team to test drivers, but Steiner says any decision over line-up is his.
Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi have both tested Haas cars as Ferrari juniors and Leclerc has also been linked with a switch to the American team in 2019 after impressing with Sauber.
With Kevin Magnussen impressing this year and Romain Grosjean recovering from a shaky start to score in four of the last five races, Haas are not short of options for next year.
Although Ferrari are reportedly keen to see Leclerc move up the grid prior to becoming a senior Scuderia driver, Steiner will not bow to any pressure from Maranello and says a move for Ocon could suit as the Frenchman scrambles to save his F1 future.
"We could take him, we may decide not to take him," Steiner said of Ocon at Monza. "But we can decide that, it's our judgement that counts. We're not told what to do.
"It's more a philosophical thing for us. We have got a good partner in Ferrari.
"I respect Ocon, he's a very good driver, but why would we do that, to maybe get into controversial stuff about this?"
Steiner added of Leclerc: "There are a few serious candidates out there who still don't have a seat. There are not many left, he's obviously one of them but I don't know what he's going to do.
"I have no information what he's going to do, if he's staying at Sauber, his contractual situation with them, or with Ferrari.
"He's doing a great job, I think. He's stepped up. Last year I wouldn't say we were afraid about the rookie status, but he has passed that one. I have a lot of respect for the guy."
Daniel Ricciardo's move to Renault sent F1's 'silly season' into overdrive in the summer break, but Haas were one of the quieter teams.
"We are not part of this madness. We are in a good place," Steiner said.
"And I would love to announce it today who we have, but it's just a few things we need to figure out, and then we will do it. We are very confident of the position we are in. We have nothing to hurry.
"I'm not losing any sleep about not having two good drivers next year, because we have got two ones now, so we are good."
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