Haas team principal, Guenther Steiner, has affirmed that the American side are not prepared to take a huge gamble when deciding their driver pairing for the 2023 season.
Kevin Magnussen returned to the Banbury-based squad at the start of the season to partner Mick Schumacher, who is in his second year of Formula 1.
The Dane has been in the points four times this year, two of which he managed in the opening two rounds of the year, but Haas have since been out-developed by Alpine, McLaren and Alfa Romeo.
They sit seventh in the Constructors’ Standings, so they are on for their best championship finish since the 2018 season, when they ended up fifth.
Magnussen has generally out-performed his 23-year-old team-mate this year, and things have not been easy for Schumacher.
He suffered major crashes in Jeddah and Monaco, and he went nine races without scoring any points as he endeavoured to find some rhythm.
The 2020 Formula 2 champion got into the groove at the Canadian Grand Prix, and was denied points by a reliability failure, before he finished in the top 10 in Silverstone and Austria.
Neither Haas driver has scored points since, but Schumacher’s performances have been consistently on par with Magnussen’s, which is crucial for his chances of being kept on.
Nonetheless, he still does not have a contract for the 2023 season, and there are a number of potential options being floated around.
Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg are considered to be among the leading contenders, while Antonio Giovinazzi also has a shot, as he is part of the Ferrari programme.
There will be no decision on any of those three yet though, because Haas are yet to finalise the future of Schumacher.
“That hasn’t been decided yet,” said Steiner in conversation with Speed Week.
“I’ll be honest, we don’t know if Mick will stay or not, he has delivered very good races in Canada, Britain and Austria.
“But he lacks consistency, he would have to deliver strong performances more often.
“We are not in a hurry regarding the driver question and Mick still has chances to show what he can do.”
The Italian stated that it is his “job” to take all possibilities into consideration, but he suggested that he will not be going for anything too outlandish.
“There is nothing concrete yet. In any case, we only want to take the smallest risk for the development of the team,” explained Steiner.
“You can take a big risk, which is great if it works out but bad if it doesn’t.”
Ricciardo and Hulkenberg are the only two drivers out there who arguably have more experience than Magnussen, and the Australian is currently on the grid with McLaren, while the 35-year-old is not.
“There is nobody on the market from those who are currently driving [who have more experience than Magnussen],” said Steiner.
“Except Daniel Ricciardo maybe. His form is not great at the moment and we don’t know what he will do. Maybe he will take a year off. I’m talking to everybody, as I said.”
Ricciardo is leaving McLaren at the end of the season to be replaced by Alpine reserve driver, Oscar Piastri.