Lewis Hamilton
British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton was named as an investor in the new ownership group of the NFL's Denver Broncos AFP / CHRISTOPHE SIMON

An F1 boss has claimed he would not sign seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton because of concerns over his age.

Guenther Steiner, team principal of the Haas F1 team, said if he was looking for a driver for his team, he would look at options other than Hamilton despite the Brit winning six out of the last nine drivers' championships. Contrary to that, the Haas F1 team is yet to win a race since joining the grid in 2016.

Arguably one of the greatest drivers in the history of F1, Hamilton holds the record for the most victories (103), pole positions (103) and podium finishes (192). Only Michael Schumacher has won as many world titles – 7.

'Fernando Alonso knows how to drive'

However, it looks like Hamilton's past performances will not secure him a job, at least at Haas, since their team principal Steiner believes that age is catching up with the 38-year-old driver. Ironically, Steiner does not think the same about 40-year-old Fernando Alonso, who according to the former "knows how to drive."

In a recent interview, when Steiner was asked to hypothetically choose who could sit in his team's cars if given the chance, he replied, "I wouldn't say, Lewis. Because he's getting on with age but there is another one which he is very good. This is Fernando [Alonso]. I mean, the guy is over 40 and, man, he knows how to drive."

There are many talented drivers on the grid at present who still have many years left in their career, including the two-time defending world champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull, who is aiming to clinch a hat-trick of drivers' titles. Steiner also added he could also go with either Hamilton's Mercedes teammate George Russell or Ferrari racing star Charles Lecrec.

"I think it will be controversial, but I can be open about it because they are not coming to drive for me anyway! That's solved that problem of the controversy. I think it would be Max [Verstappen] for sure. And either Charles [Leclerc] or George Russell," added Steiner.

It went without saying that Verstappen would be Steiner's top choice. The Haas team principal said according to him, the Dutch driver is at his peak, both talent-wise and mentally.

"I think he, at the moment, is just a driver, which talent-wise and mentally-wise, is just on a peak. He's just on top of the wave, he can do anything with a car in the moment. Everything seems to be going right for him," added Steiner.

Contract issue at Haas F1 team

Meanwhile, Steiner and the Haas F1 team have a contract issue to resolve this year. Kevin Magnussen, who is in his second stint with Haas, has been doing well since last year. He finished 13th in the 2021 season. Last year, Magnussen constantly pestered Steiner about how he felt he was not pushed hard enough by then-teammate Mick Schumacher.

Haas replaced Schumacher with Nico Hulkenberg ahead of the 2023 season. With this, tables have turned at Haas as Magnussen is believed to be "not happy" about being beaten by his new partner Hulkenberg.

Magnussen's contract is due to expire at the end of this season at Haas. Regarding this, Steiner said, "I want to at least give another five races to see where we are and then start to think about it."

Earlier, Hamilton was also called a "spoiled little boy" by Joan Villadelprat, who worked for McLaren and Ferrari among other teams in his long F1 career amid the racer's current struggles at Mercedes. Villadelprat also called Hamilton a "whiner" amid Mercedes' problems this year. Mercedes have carried their struggles from the last season into the ongoing one, and they are 67 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors' table after just three races.