Revealed: The five drivers that should be on Haas’ 2025 shortlist

Oliver Bearman, Kevin Magnussen and Zhou Guanyu

Oliver Bearman, Kevin Magnussen and Zhou Guanyu are all in contention for the Haas seat.

With Nico Hulkenberg out the door and Kevin Magnussen yet to sign a new deal, Haas have two seats free for F1 2025. But who should fill them?

Some of the names linked to Haas lately have been Zhou Guanyu, who has a reported €30million backing behind him, as well as soon to be former Alpine driver Esteban Ocon. Meanwhile, exciting Ferrari youngster Oliver Bearman looks like he could get his first full taste of F1 in the Haas next season. Here’s who our writers reckon should get the seats:

Who should drive for Haas in the 2025 F1 season?

Sam Cooper: Oliver Bearman and Esteban Ocon

With reports this week that Haas are set to reject an offer of €30million from Zhou’s sponsors to sign the Chinese driver, there should be no clearer indication of how much this team has changed.

Gone are the days of Guenther Steiner posing next to a miniature boat and now Ayao Komatsu is determined to assemble the best team possible.

While the likes of Nikita Mazepin were signed due to the money they would bring, Haas are looking for two quality drivers to fill the seats next season.

Nico Hulkenberg would have been a great choice but he has opted for pastures new, so for Haas I am going to say Bearman and Ocon.

Bearman is an obvious one, being a talent that would probably be out of Haas’ reach in the future, while Ocon is probably the best they could entice for next season.

Ocon may have his faults but he is an experienced driver who could help the team continue to improve.

Jamie Woodhouse: Oliver Bearman and Pierre Gasly

While Bearman is having a tough time of things since returning to Formula 2 duties, it definitely feels like he deserves a chance with Haas on the F1 2025 grid.

He has experienced some impactful bad luck, like his pit-stop nightmare in Imola after leading the F2 feature race, while his stellar Ferrari debut in Saudi Arabia was a clear demonstration of the potential that this British teenager possesses.

As for who his team-mate could be, while retaining Kevin Magnussen would provide the experience to ideally balance Bearman’s youthful energy, it is hard to shake off the growing sense that this partnership is approaching its end, especially with the defensive tactics which Magnussen has – uncomfortably for himself – been required to carry out on several occasions as he now sits potentially one misstep away from a race ban.

But rather than bringing in Ocon, I reckon Haas should look to his current Alpine team-mate Pierre Gasly.

Still only 28, Gasly has proven that he can be a top F1 performer when firing on all cylinders, thinking particularly about his 2021 campaign, which was the peak of his impressive return spell at the second Red Bull team.

The Alpine project has not quite worked out for Gasly and as he weighs up his F1 2025 options, Haas would be making a smart move if they could get his signature on that dotted line.

Michelle Foster: Oliver Bearman and Valtteri Bottas

Aside from Oliver Bearman, a young star with a bright future, Haas team boss Ayao Komatsu’s plan to put an experienced driver in the second car doesn’t leave him with a lot of standout options.

Even the race winners available; Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, and Valtteri Bottas, all to some degree have a black mark against their name. The only one who doesn’t is Carlos Sainz, but barring a major surprise, he’s off to either Williams or Audi.

It feels safe to say Kevin Magnussen is out and I cannot see Haas dropping the Dane only to put Zhou Guanyu in the car as, aside from covering the lunch bill, he’s done very little during his time in Formula 1 to warrant his multi-year stay.

That leaves the four race winners – and their faults.

Ricciardo should be off the shortlist simply because the Honey Badger of old is no longer, he’s lost his mojo and it’s time to accept it’s not coming back. And while Ocon has mojo, his ‘team player’ mojo will happily push a team-mate off the track if it means gaining a position.

That leaves Gasly and Bottas. Both drivers who are on their day have great speed, who know how to get the job done, and, perhaps more to the point, have calm heads. Either would be the sane, I mean safe, choice for a team that needs points and needs teamwork to achieve that.

Bottas edges the tussle with his experience, having raced for a championship-winning team in Mercedes and also backmarkers in Williams and Sauber. He knows what’s required for the job and, at 34, doesn’t need to prove he’s better than Bearman.

Thomas Maher: Esteban Ocon and Oliver Bearman

Haas is in a pretty decent position right now, with plenty of good drivers still available on the market if Ayao Komatsu fancies a big change of direction.

With Nico Hulkenberg departing, it means Kevin Magnussen’s chances of staying are a little better than they would otherwise have been. But the Danish driver has been bested by Hulkenberg during their time together and, aside from his willingness to go to war with everyone on the grid in order to help the team score points with the other car, will need a mammoth remainder of the year to secure his future again.

If Mercedes don’t go for Esteban Ocon (which I don’t believe is likely anyway), the French driver would be a great addition for the American squad. He’s fast and gritty, and hasn’t thrown his team under the bus despite Alpine’s fluctuating form during his tenure at Enstone.

Given his dependability and willingness to engage with a long-term project, Komatsu could do a lot worse than signing Ocon – having a driver of that known calibre would also allow the Haas team boss to take a risk with the other seat.

I don’t see anyone other than Oliver Bearman being signed for the other cockpit. Given his existing links, the extensive testing and practice programme he’s on – as well as that hugely impressive debut under massive pressure for Ferrari in Jeddah – there isn’t really a whole lot more he can do to make his case.

The only potential reason I can see Bearman falling short would be if Haas somehow manages to secure someone like Carlos Sainz. A Sainz/Ocon partnership would be a very strong one, and would likely be enough to keep Bearman out.

But I’m sticking with my prediction – Ocon and Bearman, with Magnussen out, as Komatsu sweeps out more of Steiner’s decisions.

Oliver Harden: Oliver Bearman and Yuki Tsunoda

You might recall that almost exactly two years ago, RB (then AlphaTauri) confirmed that Pierre Gasly would remain with the team for the following season.

Four months later, he was unveiled as Fernando Alonso’s replacement at Alpine for F1 2023, proving once and for all that contract are not – and never have been – worth the paper they’re written on.

Could the same happen with Yuki Tsunoda?

RB’s announcement in Canada that Tsunoda will stay for F1 2025 left more questions that answers and raised the very real possibility that Red Bull could lose Liam Lawson – arguably the most gifted of the three drivers on RB’s books – after Helmut Marko revealed earlier this season that the Kiwi is free to walk away from Red Bull entirely if he is once again denied a permanent seat.

If Red Bull cannot bring themselves to drop Daniel Ricciardo, is there still a deal to be done to move Tsunoda on?

It has been clear for some time that Red Bull will never promote him no matter what he does.

And despite Honda’s 2026 switch Yuki’s face simply doesn’t fit at Aston Martin, where Lawrence Stroll has acquired a taste for former World Champions.

For his own long-term career prospects, now is the time to find a home like Haas, which Tsunoda’s countryman Ayao Komatsu – a team boss with an engineering background in the style of Andrea Stella and James Vowles – has transformed into a sensible and logical race team after the chaos of the Steiner era.

It is not hard to imagine Komatsu stepping into a Franz Tost-esque role and becoming a mentor to Tsunoda, helping him smooth out the last of those rough edges alongside Oliver Bearman, whose promotion has been inevitable since his flawless Ferrari cameo in Jeddah.

That’s what should happen anyway.

What will happen? I think Ocon will join Haas and end up giving Bearman a very rude awakening in typical fashion.