Haas principal Guenther Steiner has confirmed that he rejected an approach from Pascal Wehrlein to join the team for 2020.
The German racer made his Formula 1 debut with Manor in 2016 before switching to Sauber for 2017.
He has since competed in DTM and Formula E, but despite remaining involved with Formula 1 as a Ferrari simulator driver, it’s that time away from a race seat that means he isn’t an option as Haas want an experienced line-up for 2020.
Speaking to German F1 podcast Starting Grid, as quoted by Motorsport.com, Steiner said: “He’s been out of Formula 1 for two years now.
“He was at the track a few races ago and he came to visit me and asked me if there was a possibility.
“I said: ‘unfortunately not.’ For the reason that he wasn’t in Formula 1 for two years. We want someone who has experience and has been in F1 for a long time.”
It’s widely reported that either Romain Grosjean or Nico Hulkenberg will partner Kevin Magnussen at Haas next season, and Steiner says a decision should be made “soon”.
“It’s between Nico and Romain, we haven’t made the final decision yet, but it will happen soon,” he told Motorsport.com.
“Romain is definitely good on a good day. But sometimes he has a few days that aren’t so good. That’s the problem with him.”
Steiner wouldn’t be drawn on Hulkenberg’s financial demands to join Haas.
“I don’t want to discuss Nico’s finances – whether he has enough money, whether he wants more. That’s for him to decide,” asserted Steiner.
“It’s not just about finances and the last race. For us it’s more about the team: What have we achieved, what do we want to achieve?”