Haas F1 to Retain Santino Ferrucci in Junior Driver Program
The American open-wheel driver had his troubles in F2 and is set to contest the final two IndyCar races of 2018.
Santino Ferrucci, the 20-year-old American driver who was banned from the Trident Formula 2 team and subsequently relocated to IndyCar for the time being, will be retained by Haas F1 in its junior program.
Questions arose after Ferrucci's incident with Trident F2 teammate Arjun Maini in which he purposely crashed into the latter on the cooldown lap after a race, leading to his release from the organization. With the Connecticut native's career in jeopardy, he was recently signed to a two-race commitment with Dale Coyne Racing to compete in IndyCar's final two rounds of the season at Portland and Sonoma.
Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner made the announcement that the U.S. team would stay pledged to Ferrucci during a pre-Belgium Grand Prix press conference, telling reporters:
“The guy is trying to make a career and in the end, we don’t want to pull the rug under his feet.”
Haas is likely looking to keep its options open for the future as its 2019 driver lineup is still undecided. While many believe that Kevin Magnussen will stay put next season, Romain Grosjean's spot could be in jeopardy after the rocky 2018 he's had up to Formula 1's summer break. Ferrucci hasn't been linked to a 2019 F1 drive with Haas presumably picking a Ferrari junior if it parts with Grosjean given its strong relationship with the Maranello manufacturer. However, by retaining the 20-year-old, the outfit is able to place him in multiple positions to make the pieces fit.
“We are making progress and are just going through the motions,” Steiner added of the situation. “We did a lot over the break but we haven’t come to the complete conclusion."
“Nevertheless we are in a good place and I cannot say anything yet as we are working on a few bits and bobs. We are in a good place and happy with the progress we are made. It is not far off," the Italian concluded.