Auto

How Haas F1 Team Plans to Return to Formula 1 Respectability

Team principal Guenther Steiner: 'We got out of the ditch, and we are now back in the fight to move forward again.'

auto, autos, car, cars, formula one, how haas f1 team plans to return to formula 1 respectability
Clive RoseGetty Images

  • A year ago, Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner’s promise was to return Haas to midfield respectability, with the eventual goal of reaching its 2018 level of fifth in the Constructors’ Standings.
  • Haas’ 2022 season is already the third-best of its seven-year existence, at least in terms of points.
  • The American team enters the second of two 2022 home events this week at Austin, Texas—following Miami in May—eighth of 10 teams in the Constructors’ Standings.

    Haas F1 Team—Formula 1’s lone U.S.-based team—is chasing points at this weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix at Austin, Texas.

    The team has shown in 2022 that top-10 finishes are within its grasp, but it’s coming up short on making good on its promise to move into the midfield on a consistent basis. So, what’s next for the squad?

    Haas’ 2022 season is already the third-best of its seven-year existence, at least in terms of points, and its level of competitiveness at its highest since its 2018 zenith, when it finished a surprising fifth in the Constructors’ Standings.

    Development issues throughout the 2019 season gave way to a 2020 impacted by pandemic uncertainty, prompting one of F1’s smallest teams to focus on the new 2022 regulations, effectively sacrificing 2021.

    The Standings

    Haas F1 Team in the Formula 1 Constructor Championship through the years:

    • 2016, 8th place, 29 points
    • 2017, 8th place, 47 points
    • 2018, 5th place, 93 points
    • 2019, 9th place, 28 points
    • 2020, 9th place, 3 points
    • 2021, 10th place, 0 points
    • 2022, 8th place, 34 points

      Sacrificing 2021 for 2022 paid dividends out of the box as returning driver Kevin Magnussen starred by piloting the VF-22 to a shocking fifth-place finish in the season-opener at Bahrain. It was something of a fairy tale after the pandemic, 2021’s malaise, and the Uralkali/Nikita Mazepin fallout pre-season.

      Further points followed at two of the next three events, but despite flashes of speed from the VF-22, the season has stagnated slightly. Two standout weekends in Britain and Austria were preceded by five consecutive scoreless events and have been followed by an ongoing run of seven consecutive rounds outside of the top 10.

      Haas enters the second of two 2022 home events—following Miami in May—eighth of 10 teams in the Constructors’ Standings, albeit ahead of Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri only on results countback tiebreaker.

      “I think we made good progress—is progress good enough? It’s never good enough I would say,” says a typically ebullient team principal Guenther Steiner, speaking to Autoweek at the Singapore GP. “But we got out of the ditch, and we are now back in the fight to move forward again. I think people can see we did everything we promised we were going to do. We are back.”

      A year ago, Steiner’s promise was to return Haas to midfield respectability, with the eventual goal of reaching its 2018 level of fifth in the Constructors’ Standings, all while his two underdeveloped cars tootled around rooted to the back.

      auto, autos, car, cars, formula one, how haas f1 team plans to return to formula 1 respectability

      Kevin Magnussen’s return this year gave Haas an early season boost.

      Mario Renzi – Formula 1Getty Images

      “I think it’s very important (to deliver on promises) but I never doubted it, it’s just how good you can make it,” he said. “We were focusing to go back to where we left off a few years ago before COVID came in. There’s always the naysayers but we are used to them. When we started in 2016 they said we would never make it and we made it, we scored points, and we did the same again—we told them in ’21 we’d be last and we were last, so it’s good.”

      Having a capable car also makes a difference though part of the rebuilding process has included relearning how to compete.

      “I think the team gets more confidence but we still have got a long way to go,” Steiner said. “Two years at the back destroys your confidence, your decision-making, but we are on a good way back. We are getting stronger race by race, even if last year we did everything possible still you are last. When you start to fight again it’s a different game.

      “Now when we fight for something you get upset about it, and we’re not here just to fill the grid, we’re here to take points. They all think let’s beat on the little ones, no we will not be quiet.”

      Haas’ results this year have, according to Steiner, left owner Gene Haas happy—yet also not happy.

      “Gene is a guy who is never happy, he always wants more—that’s how he got where he is. But we did what we promised what we would do and he is very happy. We have long chats, he’s in a very good place about the team. With Gene we can talk for hours, he will always think ‘have you thought about this, have you thought about that’, which is good, because it shows he is keen that we do better.”

      Steiner is optimistic that Haas’ VF-22 car “can be pretty good” in Austin.

      Steiner is optimistic that Haas’ VF-22 car “can be pretty good” in Austin, raising the prospect of a points challenge, while attention turns to long-term ambitions.

      “Success is points, and at the moment we have this rollercoaster ride and hopefully at some stage we can make it flat in the life of Haas,” says Steiner.

      Well, how?

      “It just comes over time by making less mistakes. You cannot keep on doing this other than getting better over time. Every time you mess something up analyze why, try and find solutions not to do it wrong next time—that comes from doing it.”

      Formula 1’s cost cap should also aid prospects long-term. It was introduced at a base price of $145 million in 2021, reduced to $140 million in 2022, and $135 million from 2023. It has curbed the frivolous spending of the top teams.

      “Short-term, the big teams will have an advantage because they have so much momentum going, but mid-long term I think if you do a good job you can do it,” says Steiner. “We are not a lot under the budget cap, maybe now we are 10% off the other people but before we were 200% off. At some stage, it will come together.”

      auto, autos, car, cars, formula one, how haas f1 team plans to return to formula 1 respectability

      Mick Schumacher might be heading into his final four races for Haas, which has yet to commit to the driver for 2023.

      TOSHIFUMI KITAMURAGetty Images

      Driver speculation is inevitably part of the game. Magnussen is on a multi-year deal but Schumacher’s place remains uncertain. When repeatedly quizzed in recent weeks Steiner has been coy on driver matters, insisting that Haas is in no rush to settle matters, an astute stance given Williams—last in the standings—is the only other team with a vacancy. Schumacher’s first part of the season “was not easy for him or the team,” says Steiner, but “he made a lot of progress there, and it’s just now we need to stabilize that progress.”

      It is believed that retaining Schumacher, or recruiting veteran Nico Hulkenberg, is at the heart of the team’s driver decision.

      First up, though, is the US Grand Prix, where Haas is chasing its first points since 2016. If it can achieve the feat then it’d be quite the turnaround from 12 months ago.

      Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network