Haas team principal Guenther Steiner claims the team is in "no hurry" to announce a driver line-up for the 2021 Formula 1 season, but with Sergio Perez on the market, can the team afford to dawdle?
After being dropped by Racing Point, the team opting to race with four time champion Sebastian Vettel instead as it transitions into Aston Martin, Perez is now searching for a seat that can help him to stay in the F1 paddock.
Described by his current team principal Otmar Szafnauer as "a tenacious racer" who "rarely makes mistakes" the Mexican also brings a healthy amount of sponsorship backing with him.
However, options are running out for the Mexican and, while there is an outside chance Red Bull could replace Alex Albon with Perez, it appears his most likely options for a drive rest with Alfa Romeo and Haas.
Neither team has a driver confirmed for 2021 and, while it is entirely possible both teams could field unchanged line-ups next year, it is expected both will make changes.
"The market is still pretty good for the buyer at the moment," said Steiner, giving a nod to Ferrari juniors Mick Schumacher, Robert Shwartzman and Callum Ilott in F2. There are more drivers than seats.
"At the moment, we have got two drivers. It sounds already like we are getting rid of our drivers, which we haven't, so at the moment we are still gaining our time."
Questioned directly on the likelihood of Perez joining the American-owned team, he added: "I think Otmar did a pretty good sales pitch for him. He must be his agent as well!
"What Otmar said is true. He’s a good racer but we are just looking.
"There are a lot of candidates out there at the moment which we are talking with, which we are thinking about and we just need to come up with a decision.
"For a team, it’s quite good to be in the market because you have got a lot of things which you can pick up. We are in no rush to do anything and we just think it through, we come to a conclusion with an answer when we are ready."
Alongside the other nine existing F1 teams, Haas signed the new Concorde Agreement and Steiner explained that with this commitment to the sport, the team needs to not just look at what a driver can bring for 2021, but also for the next five years.
"I don’t want to go through all the criteria but it needs to be a package, and what we need to see, how do we want to… what do we want to do in the future? How it is best of the team? We’re not just thinking about next year.
"Then, if you’re short on thinking, it is pretty easy: you try to get the fastest guy as quick as possible in. But we are thinking about the next five years after we have signed our Concorde Agreement now.
"So, we want to build up again, that we are getting back to the results that we had in 2018. That takes a bit more time to think it through: financially, talent, it’s a lot of things coming into play. And that is where we are.
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