Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Lack of ‘quali mode’ behind Haas’s qualifying slump – Steiner

Lap time watch: 2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Both Haas drivers went out in Q1 following the team’s strong showing on Friday because their ‘quali mode’ isn’t as power as their rivals’, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.

Romain Grosjean set the fifth-fastest time in second practice yesterday. He fell to 17th in qualifying, one place behind team mate Kevin Magnussen, both of which dropped out in the first round.

Steiner suspected at least part of the difference came about because “a lot of the other people can put the quali mode on.”

“Our drivers just had understeer a lot,” he added. “Kevin said he never had a complete clean lap which didn’t help but that I wouldn’t put that down to that, I think the performance just went away from yesterday to today.

“Already this morning it looked a little bit getting iffy with the understeer. It’s just when we turn it up there is only a little we can turn up on the engine side.”

Today’s qualifying session may have been the last in which teams can use ‘quali modes’ to gain performance boosts from their cars. The FIA intends to ban them before the next round of the championship in Belgium.

Steiner hopes that will play into their hands. “Hopefully we make a step with the engine mode,” he said. “Because if you qualify back there, to move forward in the race is so difficult because you’re so much in dirty air and the attrition there is much more.”

Hamilton was quick but not record-breaking
However he admits it’s hard to judge exactly how much his team’s rivals are gaining from their quali modes. “I don’t know exactly what will happen because I don’t know the engine modes of the other people,” he said. “I know something, but it’s all calculations.”

The FIA’s planned ban on ‘quali modes’ should arrive just in time for the races on F1’s two most power-sensitive circuits. That should give us some insight into just how much teams gain from these modes.

However much extra power Mercedes have on tap, they weren’t able to break the track record at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend. They were one of just three teams who were slower at the track this year than they were 12 months ago.

Two Ferrari-powered teams were also slower than last year: Ferrari themselves and Haas, who took the biggest step backwards. But Alfa Romeo, who had been slowest at every track so far this year, finally showed signs of progress. They were four-tenths of a second quicker than last year, and Kimi Raikkonen took his C39 into Q2.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “Lack of ‘quali mode’ behind Haas’s qualifying slump – Steiner”

  1. Sigh. Yeah I’m sure once the fia ban qualifying modes the haas, alfa’s and ferrari’s will be fighting for poles. Im just happy to know that even with the bans the ferrari powered cars will still be slow. 6 years f1 teams have been using qualifying modes and all it took for them to be banned was for ferrari to not be able to use any without cheating.

  2. Mercedes didn’t use any of their highest qualifying modes today.

    It’s been confirmed that they used Strat 3 – which they only use for their final Q1 runs and initial Q2 runs – for the entirety of qualifying. Strat 2 is normally their “party mode.”

    1. What’s strat 1 then? Plaid?

      1. I am sorry, English is not my native language. What do you mean saying “Plaid”? Arabian magic carpet on which Mercedes fly? :)

        1. It’s one up from ludicrous speed!

          Trust me, you don’t want to go to plaid! You will damage your helmet.

      2. @dmw on a serious note, the current interpretation is that Strat 1 is a mode that the drivers use to recharge the batteries, possibly for use on the warm up lap to maximise the charging rate when preparing for a flying lap.

  3. FIA need to put their thinking cap on. The unintended cconsequence will be that Mercedes work hard on reliability and make race mode party mode too. It’s obvious Mercedes have 1s per lap power in hand and are detuning race mode to keep reliability up.

    But getting that reliability is easier than getting the power. They will force Mercedes to push their race mode even further out of reach of the rest (which is within their power as we see from Quali), while the rest cannot – otherwise they would already by qualifying faster.

    1. The Merc as it is quite reliable. Mechanical or electrical failures are rare. They will now optimise race modes in a manner that still gives them a power advantage. It is the midfield that may see some shakeup.

  4. It’s just when we turn it up there is only a little we can turn up on the engine side.

    The top speed trap speeds for Lewis and Valtteri (and also Alex, Charles, Max and Sebastian) were all slower than the top speed trap speeds for Romain and Kevin. Maybe the problem isn’t so much the engine mode as some other critical component?

    Our drivers just had understeer a lot…Kevin said he never had a complete clean lap which didn’t help but that I wouldn’t put that down to that, I think the performance just went away from yesterday to today.

    Maybe if Haas had sorted out their understeer issues and if they’d arranged it so Kevin had the opportunity to put in some clean hot laps then he’d have gotten better times.

  5. The reason no one managed to beat last season’s pole time, i.e., the outright track record is probably the differences in the time of year.

  6. Sir your engine cannot run reliably at peak or very close to peak power. Quli mode only exists in your imagination.

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