Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Haas “not putting in any effort” to do more than fight Williams this year

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says Williams is the only rival they can realistically expect to compete with this year.

In brief

Haas only expect to rival Williams

Only one Haas reached the chequered flag at the season-opening race in Bahrain. Mick Schumacher finished almost a minute behind the sole running Williams of George Russell.

Steiner says they are unlikely to compete with any other teams this year, as Haas has prioritised focusing on its new car for the 2022 F1 season and giving rookie due Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin more experience.

“If we can take the fight to Williams, that’s about it what we can [do],” he said. “I’m very realistic about that, we are not putting any effort in to do anything more than that.

“I think the biggest amount what we can get out of the car [is] to get our drivers prepared, or get them prepared better, just get them experience. That is what we want to do so they are ready when we have a better car. That is just how our plan is for this year.”

Collet sets record-breaking pace in F3 test

Alpine junior driver Caio Collet ended the two-day Formula 3 test at the Red Bull Ring with a new course record for the category. The MP driver set a best lap time of 1’18.592.

He led a trio of Red Bull juniors, each of which lapped the team’s home track in 1’18.7: Dannis Hauger for Prema, Jak Crawford for Hitech and Carlin’s Jonny Edgar. Matteo Nannini completed the top five for HWA, who he also drives for in F2.

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On this day in F1

Ronnie Bucknum, Honda, Nurburgring, 1964
Bucknum and Honda made their debut on the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 1964
  • Ronnie Bucknum was born on this day in 1936. He drove for Honda’s first F1 team in 1964 and 1965.

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39 comments on “Haas “not putting in any effort” to do more than fight Williams this year”

  1. I don’t get why Haas bothers, the teams attitude is all wrong. In the latest season of Drive to Survive there is a phone call where Gene is on the phone saying he does not want to put anymore money in the team and imploring Gunther to find sponsors (I realise this may be edited or dramatised). I don’t think you’re going to get anywhere without making investment in team development a priority (EG like Lawrence Stroll) and if a was a sponsor there is no way I’d touch the team, I’m not there to fund your F1 project while you put minimal investment in. There might be a case for the team if they were likeable underdogs but I feel like they have destroyed all the goodwill they had when entering the sport through various sagas like Rich Energy and a lack luster response to Mazepin’s conduct (surely there is something that allows you to terminate the contract if your actions bring the team into disrepute, plenty of other pay drivers out there). In any case I don’t see a way out or a future the team unless they start taking a more proactive approach rather than letting things happen to them.

    1. Gene Haas has long checked out I believe. I think they’re waiting to put finishing touches on a buyout agreement with Mazepin Sr., which is probably on ice because of the IAF ban.

    2. What I don’t get is how will they be able to have « prepared drivers » when they’re just circulating alone on track, 60 second behind the penultimate car. It’s a one-year blue flag school.

    3. These statements are disappointing for the fans, but a slap in the face for (genuine) sponsors.

      1. I agree. It’s all very well focusing on 2022 but how is the attitude of Haas going to attract sponsors or investors? I don’t think an owner of an F1 team can take the attitude that it’s not worth them investing more to make the team remotely competitive. What is the point of taking part?

        Even if they do concentrate on next year it still sounds like they will be miles behind. Then someone like Schumacher isn’t going to hang around longer than he has to. He will be gone in 2023. It really does indicate that Haas is perhaps waiting until he can sell the team.

      2. Well, since Haas really doesn’t have much in the way of genuine sponsors though @coldfly, it does not make it much of a slap in the face.

        I think that even for their genuine sponsor 1&1 (but also for the Russian flag) what Steiner mentions about working to get the drivers best prepared to make the most of the car might actually be a very good target. And that Williams has failed to take a leap forward gives the drivers at least a relatively achieveable target to focus on.

        If Haas wants to build back stronger (nice phrase) it will be all towards 2022 and I think a sponsor who signed up with them during last year would be on board for that target, since it was pretty clear last year already that this would be their best option to be on the grid.

    4. Having your company’s logo on a car driven by a Schumacher and displayed to hundreds of millions fans is pretty marketable, even if the car finishes last I guess.

  2. Neil (@neilosjames)
    5th April 2021, 1:32

    F1: Following in another car’s dirty air is such a problem for us, no other series has it this bad.

    Extreme E: Hold my beer…

    1. It was horrific.

    2. @neilosjames I only watched the highlights on Youtube, but the editing was all over the place, I’d have been better off in dust plume trying to figure out what was going on. I’m guessing the dust is the reason they can’t have more cars in any given race.

  3. Oh look someone who has seen Drive to Survive and thinks they know F1…

  4. If you were Haas or Williams, why would you spend any significant sums on this years cars which is just an iteration of last years. It’s not as if they really have the wherewithal to suddenly become massively competitive.

    Far better to use your limited funds on attempting a big catch up via their 2022 chassis development. To me their focus is where it should be. Even if they can’t get up into the high midfield, they’ll hopefully bring something that’ll be closer to the back than they have any hope of this year.

    1. @dbradock The word from Haas has already earlier been that they will solely focus on next year very early on, and I’m sure every other team will similarly shift focus 100% on the 2022 campaign relatively soon.

      1. @dbradock @jerejj Agreed and I was leaning more towards your comments than the ones above that have them ‘throwing in the towel’ or sounding terrible for potential sponsors. I doubt they have a defeatist attitude and have just given up, but rather are being pragmatic and Steiner admits to being ‘very realistic.’ It’s just the lay of the land for them right now and based on where the competition is, and I’m sure they actually have high hopes for next year and onward.

    2. Jeffrey Powell
      5th April 2021, 7:38

      As a lifelong fan of Rallying and someone who Rallycross left cold, I must say I wasn’t disappointed with ‘The Farce in The Desert’.10 minutes of this was enough I had just finished painting my boat ,so turned of and went out to watch it dry.

  5. An interesting interview with Domenicali.

    COTD: Correct.

  6. Re F3: Expect most lap records to be broken this year.
    Re Extreme E: Is RXR’s win gonna foreshadow Hamilton moving to team management next year? We never know…

  7. Thanks for cotd, sorry for the bad grammar. That’s what happens when you get up really early preparing for a new early shift.

    I wonder if the FIA has noticed the we’ll-never-win-anyway attitude of Haas, and if that is anything to do with the talk of waiving the entry fee of that supposedly new Monaco team.

  8. That’s one thing you get with the Americanisation of Formula One: tanking.

    To be honest, I don’t see any point in Haas trying to do anything this season either. Haas are horrible at in-season development (there’s not a single season in which Haas ended the year more competitive than they started it; even the 2010 teams managed to accomplish that feat (yes, even Virgin/Marussia/Manor Marussia/Marussia) a couple of times). They are assured TV money. What sponsors they have are there because of their drivers, both of which are going nowhere for 2022. All in all, it’s much more expedient to focus on the 2022 regulations and honestly, as much as I really do not care for Steiner, I appreciate the honesty more than whatever Alpine are playing at.

    1. @klon So you seem to be criticizing F1 for their ‘Americanisation’ which I don’t get, but you use the word ‘tanking’ and then you go one to say you understand why they aren’t focussing on this season? Can’t say I understand the need for your first line, nor what it even means.

      1. @robbie @klon Most likely: it’s the difference between grasping the logic of a team not trying its best, and utterly disliking that there is a structural incentive in F1 to do so.

  9. I don’t see where f1 is generating road car technology anymore.

    F1 has given road cars abs brakes, paddle shift gearboxes, some driver safety measures, and some help with aero principles. In the very early days of KERS it increased the pace of battery technology and packaging development.

    However all of its technology is restricted to the point of irrelevance. It’s committed to ICE engines at a time when Europe has given manufacturers a short timeline to ban them entirely. Road car battery technology is already moving way beyond f1 densities, as are the packaging requirements. The design of a road car is more expensive, more complex, and more challenging than an f1 car, most of which are indistinguishable even in years of regulation changes (remember the year everyone “invented” the stepped nose?), unless someone with a zoom lens puts little pointy arrows on the changed bits.

    What is a car manufacturer going to learn from f1? “here’s how you get around some rules restrictions”? “here’s how you can very slightly improve open wheel tyre wash aero effects at 300kph”?

    “What’s that? The wheels are enclosed, doing 300kph is illegal and breaking the rules gets you billion dollar fines with associated shareholder court cases? Sorry mate got nothing for you so.”

    1. Hairs_ It is much more than F1 committing to the ICE, for of course they have committed to hybrid technology, and I think you will find that Europe may on paper want to go electric, but when you really delve into it they and the world are far from going full electric, and when manufacturers speak of electrification, they mean hybrid as well as EV, as in, an ICE to support batteries that power electric motors.

      For now, hybrid technology is very relevant, and the concept of using a miser of an ICE to keep up the practicality in cars that otherwise fall far far short in that regard when they are fully electric, is a real thing. EV’s for now are very impractical in range and usefulness (unless one can get away with a small car or an expensive Tesla) and there is not nearly the infrastructure in place to deal with masses of people needing charging stations. We will need hybrids for quite a while, while the EV side of things catches up in technology and infrastructure needs. I admit there seems to be strides being taken in that technology, but for now and the foreseeable future it is to me fully understandable that F1 is staying with an ICE and energy recovery aka hybrid format. And as well they speak much about synthetic fuels to power the ICE, not fossil fuels, and let’s see where that exciting concept can go too.

      Don’t get me wrong I’ll be all in on an EV when I can go 600 or 700 Km on a charge and take 5 min to recharge like it takes me now to fill the tank and do it all over again. And that includes not having that claimed on-paper, laboratory range, cut in half as soon as I need to heat or air condition the inside of the car.

      1. Which doesn’t change the fact that f1’s engine spec
        *has been static for years with no meaningful development
        *will be static again for years after the next tweak to engine regs
        *has an ice component which has absolutely no relevant analogue or application in a road car in any of its parts, packaging, materials, structures, or designs
        *contains a tiny hybrid system which is not permitted to
        be improved
        *is already behind car technology in hybrid packaging, technology and capacity
        *is only going to fall further behind road car hybrid technology
        *is ruinously expensive to do
        *generates research outputs that are directed in entirely the wrong areas compared to the needs of road cars (insane acceleration curves, rpm, and Peak power levels, none of which are beneficial to 99.99% of car buyers)

        1. Hairs_ “To do this, it developed a new coating for the engine’s cylinder heads to improve their resistance to the high temperatures and friction generated during combustion. This innovation, which has made the cylinders up to 10 times more resistant than those used in Honda’s high-revving motorcycle engines, was evaluated at the end of the year at Yas Marina.

          Once validated, the more robust cylinders allowed the team to seek greater performance from its engine. This was done by reshaping the combustion chamber to increase compression, by reducing the angle at which the valves are positioned. This proved to be a win-win development: the camshafts were moved closer together, producing a more compact engine, which is easier to package within an F1 chassis.”

          This I just pasted from today’s article about gains Honda have made with their ICE.

          While I’m sure you have some valid points out of your list, I’m not sure all are valid, and I’m sure there will be other developments along the way by all makers, and especially as they adapt to synthetic fuels. I find it extremely unlikely that the domestic car market has nothing whatsoever to learn from F1. Sure I take your point that the changes to the ICE that for example Honda has done are better suited for the high revving racing environment, but I wouldn’t presume some of that wouldn’t possibly trickle down to smaller and smaller ICEs, perhaps eventually sipping synthetic fuel, in domestic cars that can keep batteries charged up at all times.

          As we know there is no possibility whatsoever of the world just scrapping ICEs and converting to EVs overnight, so it’s going to be a process and will take no small amount of time, by which it may not even be EVs that will become the end goal. I see F1 playing a hand in the future, especially if (and it seems they have) they have now embraced the green sustainable carbon neutral file whereas before they hadn’t.

          1. That’s going to be really useful in the banned engines car makers won’t be allowed to produce in a few years time, which would have operating conditions so different to this engine that the technology wouldn’t have any useful application, assuming the engine was allowed to exist, which it won’t be.

  10. The Haas drivers know the drill. If, by some fluke, they find themselves running in the points, they will park off track and wait for the Williams pair to come along. Then they will attack and give it everything they’ve got.

    1. Hahahahaa good one. 😁

  11. I don’t disagree with Haas just focusing on 2022, plenty have done this in the past, I’m just surprised by their honesty, I guess others have had sponsors to keep happy, but looking at stickers on the Haas this year, the only people they have to keep happy is themselves.

    1. Same here, @bernasaurus. Except you call it ‘honesty’ and I call it ‘not so smart wording’.

      I’m especially thinking about 1&1. They are pumping a couple of million in the team this year, and I guess you want to get a bit more of a fighting spirit from the team leader.

      But I guess part of the story is the way the quote snippets and the headline were chosen.
      How different would it sound if it said “Haas fully focussed on designing the most competitive car for 2022”.

      1. @coldfly I think that is well said, and would only add Steiner does say he is just being very realistic, and indeed I believe they are fully focussed on designing the most competitive car for 2022. I know you often have issues with headlines, but imho it has been a known thing for a long time, and especially with the advent of the internet and social media destroying things like newspapers, that headlines have to be a bit provocative shall we say, or people won’t read the article in such a viscously competitive atmosphere that has existed in media for a long time, but particularly in the last decade. There has been an art to the headline for decades.

        Oh I do get the eye roll or the head shake thing that a headline can provoke, especially once one has read the content of the article and deemed perhaps the headline could have been worded differently, but I also get the necessity for these types of headlines too. If the headline had read as your last line suggests, would anyone have read the article? Or would they have just had a meh moment and moved on?

  12. I understand why Haas don’t want to spend any money on this year’s car as it’s a sound business decision for a cash strapped team. However, this is when I think the rule makers need to step in and make sure that no car is slower than ‘X’ percent of the front runners at anytime during the race weekend. The 107% rule is fine for qualifying but it, or something like it, should exist for all sessions. Having a car trundle around the track 5 or 6 seconds off the pace during a race is dangerous, bad for the overall product and should not be tolerated.

  13. Looking forward to the US team to become “Prussian Point” then “Lada F1 racing”. Papa Mazepin is pulling a Papa Stroll on Hass!

  14. I have really liked Steiner for his no-nonsense straight-talk in a world that is no stranger to empty hype, but I am beginning to cool.

    On the one hand, I get that he does not want the team to suffer disappoinment, measured against unrealistic expectations.

    But on the other hand, I wonder what this is doing to morale on the garage and shop floor? This is going into the third season where Steiner essentially tells people that nothing that they will do this year will make any difference.

    I wonder what that must feel like, travelling across the globe, working grueling hours and being away from home and familiy for extended periods and being told that it will really all be in vain.

  15. Imagine being a new sponsor to this team and this is all over the media

    1. @cdfemke Depends on what you mean by ‘this.’ If you mean the wording in the headline, then sure it sounds like Haas are a team that doesn’t try or has given up. But if you mean by the things Steiner also says in the article about being realistic and looking forward to a much better new car next year, than that is entirely different. I would think a new sponsor to this team has already been involved in many discussion about their plans for next year and onward, and would not be dissuaded by a headline.

  16. Haas can’t expect to get anything more than what they do considering what they bring to the sport.
    They buy everything and are completely dependable on Ferrari’s good fortunes to get anywhere.

    In ’18 and ’19 with Ferrari’s powerhouse engines they could be fast, yet wasted it all with bad driving in ’18 and no in season development after a very strong start in ’19.

    Then Ferrari’s engines suffered that huge drawback and Haas spirelled altogether.
    Long gone are the days a team could get anywhere while being cheap in F1 and they should’ve known this by now.

  17. RocketTankski
    6th April 2021, 9:35

    Haas are already the 10th best team in F1, so why try harder?
    This is commerce, not the Olympics.

  18. If we can take the fight to Williams, that’s about it what we can [do]…I’m very realistic about that, we are not putting any effort in to do anything more than that.

    As I think about it, I’m glad Gunther has the sense to stay within his budget. It must be very tempting to try and spend his way out of the situation he’s in, only that just spending more doesn’t guarantee being more successful. Money needs to be spent wisely to maximise its benefit.

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