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Haas expands on Steiner's US driver comments

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Gene Haas elaborated on team principal Guenther Steiner's recent negative comments about signing an American driver to the US outfit.

Steiner sparked a storm last month when he suggested that no American driver was currently ready to race in Formula 1.

The comments did not go down well in the US, mainly within the IndyCar community, with motorsport legend Mario Andretti labeling Steiner's remarks as "Wrong and ignorant!!".

"Gunther was asked about having an American driver in Formula 1 and, more specifically, with the Haas F1 team," Haas explained in an interview on the team's website.

"He responded by saying something to the effect that it wasn't at the top of our priority list, and things kind of took off in a bunch of different directions as people made a bunch of assumptions.

"The fact is that we're still learning here in Formula 1, and bringing on a driver who needs to learn about Formula 1 probably isn't the best thing for us or them."

The team owner and business entrepreneur said he would like nothing more than to someday hire an American driver, but only when the US outfit has established its long-term future in the sport.

"We're not saying no to having an American driver, but the reality is that of the American drivers who have a superlicense and could actually compete in F1, they should really be with a team that can serve as their benchmark rather than the other way around," he added.

"I believe in American drivers – my NASCAR team is full of them, and we've won a lot of races and championships," he said.

"Obviously, the discipline is different, but sure, there are competent American drivers who can compete in Formula 1.

"But we're not ready for that yet, and with the limited amount of testing teams have, getting anyone up to speed who hasn't already been a part of a development program would be hard.

"I think that's the point Gunther was trying to make."

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