Australian Oscar Piastri looks unlikely to win a 2022 F1 drive with Gene Haas revealing his namesake team want someone with “real world experience” to replace Nikita Mazepin.
The dismissal of controversial Russian driver Mazepin and the lucrative sponsorship of his Uralkali family, due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, sees an available seat on the grid just two weeks before the season opener.
Piastri, the reigning Formula 2 champion, is a member of the Alpine Academy and has been entered as an Alpine reserve driver for 2022.
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The BBC reported Piastri was one of three drivers on the team’s shortlist to partner Mick Schumacher, along with Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi and Indian F2 driver Jehan Daruvala who has Red Bull backing.
But speaking with The Associated Press, Haas said: “Obviously we would like to have someone with a bit more real-life experience.
“We just have to see what’s available.”
Fittipaldi has competed in two races for Haas in the 2020 season while Piastri and Daruvala have never raced in Formula 1.
Former Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi is a potential signing, given his ties to Ferrari – whose engine powers the Haas – as well as Aston Martin reserve Nico Hulkenberg.
Fittipaldi will race in the second Haas for the Bahrain Test later this week, giving him a head start in the race for the seat.
Haas said the relationship between his team and Mazepin (and his sponsorship) had become untenable due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“There was a lot of intense criticism over the Ukrainian invasion and it was just getting overwhelming. We can’t handle all of this, our other sponsors can’t handle all of this,” Haas said.
“We are looking at several candidates, we will see who is available and what we have to deal with, but we will have someone by Wednesday,” Haas said.
“Pietro will definitely be in it (the car for Bahrain testing), that’s what he’s for, he’s the test driver.”