This is a quick one but I want it documented in case I’m right so I can gloat next season.
I’m pretty sure next year’s Haas F1 drivers will be Jenson Button and Alexander Rossi.
Button–his contract is up at the end of this year and maybe it’s just me but this season teams seem to be resigning their drivers with expiring contracts REALLY early. Yesterday Nico Hulkenberg signed on for another 2 years at Force India. Williams have resigned both their drivers. Red Bull has done the same. The opportunities are dwindling fast and silly season doesn’t usually start until late October/early November, at least as I remember things. He’s also more “mainstream” to an American audience, thanks largely to the Mobil 1 commercials. And Tony Stewart (aka Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR) has a strong relationship with Mobil 1. Plus, he’s the veteran they need to help develop the car. He’s not the future of the team, but he’ll go a long way to help them not be a Manor/Marussia/back of the pack team.
It’s also probably not a coincidence that Kevin Magnussen agreed to stay on as a reserve driver with McLaren after they signed Alonso. He’s tweeting practically every day about not giving up on the dream, how hard he’s working to stay in shape, doing simulator runs, etc. The kid could drive when he had the chance and something tells me Ron Dennis told him he’d get his chance again.
Rossi–he’s American. They need an American driver for brand development in the US, a driver Americans can root for as a home town hero. He’s also the only American currently holding an F1 super license. That sucker costs something like $10,000 a year. He continues to drive in GP2 and Formula E so he’s got work–there’s a reason he’s keeping it. Plus, he has F1 race experience… even if it was with a terrible team. They don’t want to risk testing a complete unknown in the F1 world if they want to make a statement their first season.
There you have it. Rossi and Button–Haas F1 drivers for the 2016 season. I’ve been saying it for months, but now I have it on the record.
More to come after the race tomorrow at Monza.