AUGUST 31, 2018
Ocon, Leclerc candidates for Haas
Team boss Gunther Steiner has admitted that Esteban Ocon might be a contender for a seat at Haas next year.
Earlier, it appeared that Romain Grosjean would be ousted and replaced by Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc for 2019.
But it suddenly appears as though Ocon, a Renault-championed Frenchman who appears set to lose his Force India seat, might be a new contender.
"I would say that now we are having many such appeals to us, and I guess you know who I'm talking about," boss Steiner smiled at Monza.
"So far no decisions have been taken. When we debuted, very few people wanted to talk with us and now there are plenty, and the reasons for this are clear."
Steiner was asked specifically about Ocon, and the fact that while Haas is a Ferrari-linked team, the 21-year-old driver is actually part of the Mercedes programme.
"We look at these things in a philosophical way," Steiner answered.
"Ferrari is our very good partner, and Ocon is a very good driver. We will base our decision on our own conclusions. No one dictates what we should do," he said.
Steiner also confirmed that Leclerc, currently at Sauber, is "one of" the candidates for 2019.
"I do not have information about his plans for next year or his contractual situation with Ferrari or what he is doing. Last year he did not have experience but now I treat him with great respect," he said.
Meanwhile, Steiner was asked about the situation at Force India, amid speculation Haas is the only team opposed to allowing the Silverstone based squad to have access to $33 million in F1 prize money.
"I want to understand why Racing Point Force India is not perceived as it should be, as a new team. We just want someone to explain this to us," he said.