Haas livery, 2021

Haas targets return to 2018 performance peak next year

2022 F1 season

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner sees the 2022 F1 season as the team’s opportunity to return to its competitive peak.

The team’s fifth place in the 2018 constructors championship remains their best season-long performance to date. Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen achieved their best race result with fourth and fifth respectively in that year’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Since then the team has slumped to ninth place in the 2019 and 2020 championships. It scored just three points last season and the team’s future was thrown into jeopardy by the disruption to income caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Haas has secured major backing from Russian petrochemicals company Uralkali, which is linked to new driver Nikita Mazepin, for 2021. But the team will campaign a little-changed car for the new season as it focuses the investment on developing a chassis for the radically overhauled 2022 regulations.

Mazepin is joined by fellow rookie Mick Schumacher in the team’s line-up. But Steiner denied the upcoming year will be a “holding season” for the team. “It’s a transitional season, I call it,” he said. “It’s a transition to get to ’22.”

Haas has not used either of its two ‘development tokens’ for the upcoming season. Steiner said there was no point to put significant resources into its 2021 car given the change in regulations which are coming.

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“We did this with the expectation that this year if we invest a lot of time, money, tokens, wind tunnel time, it’s [just] one year,” said Steiner. “We were starting late last year anyway, the car wasn’t our best car, so if you put it all together, it was actually pointless to invest in the short term. It was much more important to invest in the mid and long term, and that is the ’22 regulations.”

Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2018
Haas scored their best result at the Red Bull Ring in 2018
Treating the upcoming season as a year of preparation will also give the team time to give its new drivers more experience, said Steiner.

“We don’t have to forget we have got two rookie drivers. As I said already when we announced them, this is part of it, of the whole plan. We want to get ready for ’22 in all areas.

“So in the end we come up with two drivers which are ready, are young and hungry, because they haven’t been there, and we have got a good car for them in ’22.”

Steiner wants the team to be “back like we were in 2018 to fight on the top of the midfield” next year.

“I always am very hesitant to give positions out because as long as you are racing and fighting, that is what a sport is about. Some you win and some you lose and then you just try to do the best. But to get stubborn with ‘I want to achieve this number’, it’s very difficult because I don’t know what the other teams are doing.

“But if we will get back to our performances from 2018, I would be very happy.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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10 comments on “Haas targets return to 2018 performance peak next year”

  1. Well, viewed positively, there were plenty of setup, strategy, pit stop and other non-optimal things for HAAS last year(s), even apart from where the car was – maybe keeping the hardware unchanged gives them ways to find better procedures for running the weekend.

    But it’s still quite a step backward for the season.

    1. From many of the comments, it seems that the teams expect the Ferrari engine to be more or less back up to speed where it was in 2019 – I think that might be an indication that the “using less fuel flow as a punishment” thing might have been real. And given the lack of uproar, I guess teams were briefed of this to keep the uproar down?

      1. huh, that’s a bit odd if true, though I guess also rather oldscool F1/FIA @bascb? I guess we’ll see, but the HAAS still wasn’t a good car even with an improved PU, I don’t think.

      2. an indication that the “using less fuel flow as a punishment” thing might have been real. And given the lack of uproar, I guess teams were briefed of this to keep the uproar down?

        It does explain a lot, if not everything, @bascb.
        But it would also be so wrong toward us, the fans, and a (what I thought) relic of FIA past as mentioned by @bosyber.

        1. Yeah, i agree with that @bosyber, @coldfly.

          I guess it does point to the big reason why to keep it so secret!

      3. @bascb I do have some questions over Salo’s words – when commenting that Ferrari “have been forced to use less fuel”, it did leave some ambiguity over what exactly he meant by that.

        After all, given the allegations levelled at Ferrari were over using ways of feeding misleading information to the fuel flow units to allow them to temporarily exceed the fuel flow limits, it could also be interpreted as Salo making a reference to Ferrari no longer employing those tactics to evade the fuel flow measures and losing performance as a result of having to keep more strictly to the fuel flow limits.

        What I did also find a bit odd was Salo’s comments about not knowing if Ferrari will have a new engine for 2021. It’s odd because Ferrari had announced the modifications they were making on their engines for 2021 a month earlier, and there is a lot of active research taking place – AVL is reported as undertaking work for Ferrari on a possible split turbo design that mimics the Mercedes layout, there are modifications to the cylinder head and piston crown and so forth.

        Indeed, Ferrari, like Renault, had originally objected to Red Bull’s push for the engine freeze because it was compromising their development work – they would have been forced to write off developments planned for this year under the original plan – so it’s a bit strange that Salo seems to not be aware of that.

        I am also not completely confident that “a lack of uproar” is necessarily proof of those claims. Contentious though the settlement was when announced in early 2020, the announcement came in late February 2020, with the FIA then releasing further statements in early March 2020 – although there were a lot of objections then, that was rather rapidly overtaken by the sudden surge in the current pandemic and concerns shifting from the engine debate to suddenly wondering whether there was even going to be a 2020 season and minds being rather sharply focussed on the sudden drop in income.

        There have been a lot of other activities taking place over 2020, with wide ranging arguments over technical and financial regulations. Under normal circumstances, I would not be surprised if there would have been more agitation over Ferrari’s engines – but I think it is fair to say that 2020 was anything but normal for most.
        There is perhaps some truth in the phrase “never waste a crisis”, and both the FIA and Liberty Media have used the current situation to remould the sport and to make amendments that normally they couldn’t have made or perhaps couldn’t have gotten away with making, but which tended to be nodded through with more acceptance as the ends justified the means.

  2. I wish them to.
    Although down here on earth, they have a full rookie line-up, a fanciful team principal and a CEO on the brink of selling.
    The American dream for an insomniac.

  3. By “peak performance” do they mean most entertaining team to watch on Drive to Survive? Because I expect there to be some highlights with Mazepin behind the wheel!

  4. Will Haas be Haas next year?

    1. My guess is: YES they will @johnrkh.

      Why? Well, a Russian team cannot run the Russian name etc anyway due to the doping sanction – at least officially, and at least for 2 years. My guess would be they plan to run the Russian Flag livery on the HAAS for 2 years (or until the WADA does in fact deem it to be the stuck up middle finger it is and decide it infringes on the ban). And then the team becomes Russian and goes for propaganda that way. And who knows, maybe the Rich cockroaches are right and their brand will appear on the Uralkali Rossia F1 team as livery.

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