Haas move a blow for Ferrari influence says Minardi

Former F1 chief Gian Carlo Minardi thinks Ferrari may be struggling to wield its influence among customer teams.

Although the American outfit Haas is unofficially referred to as a Ferrari 'B' team, owner Gene Haas has announced that it will keep Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen next year.

That is despite speculation Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovinazzi will join the team for 2018.

At the same time, Sauber is linked with a switch to Honda power for 2018, now backed by news Honda-backed Nobuharu Matsushita will drive for the Swiss team in the post-Hungary GP test.

So when asked about Haas' unchanging drivers for 2018, former F1 team owner Minardi said: "If that were the case, it would be a missed opportunity for Ferrari.

"I remain optimistic and I want to think it is only a move to maintain the serenity within a team that is doing very well, with the goal of winning as many points in the second half of the season," he added.

But Minardi said if Giovinazzi doesn't make his full-time debut with Haas next year, "It would be a defeat for the entire Ferrari system for young drivers".

"It would then be obvious that Ferrari drivers do not enjoy any protection. Ferrari would no longer have any decision-making power over its customers, but for now I refuse to think of such a scenario," he said.

(GMM)

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