Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, Monza, 2023

Haas pair frustrated front wing “couldn’t go down low enough” for Monza

2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Haas’ drivers said the lack of a suitable front wing for the high-speed Monza circuit led to one of their least competitive performances of the year in last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

Kevin Magnussen started 19th, six places behind team mate Nico Hulkenberg. The pair were the last cars running at the finish, Hulkenberg leading his team mate home in 17th.

“It was probably the worst race as we just had no pace at all, the tyres were falling apart and there was no balance,” said Magnussen. “We have a steep hill to climb.”

The weekend had begun more promisingly for them, however. “It’s really confusing though because in FP3 we were P7, and today we were the slowest by a big margin,” Magnussen explained on Sunday. “There was just no pace – we need to turn this ship around.”

While most drivers started the race on the medium tyre compound, Magnussen gambled on a set of hards. “But we just had no grip at all.”

“We were talking about going all the way to the end on that first hard [tyre set], to then maybe hope for a late Safety Car or do a bit like Albon did in Melbourne, try something like that,” he explained. “But, no chance whatsoever.”

Magnussen said the team was at a disadvantage as they weren’t able to lower their front wing angle as much as their rivals.

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“The car was so over-balanced, there was no chance. We couldn’t even take off [angle] in our front wing, the flap couldn’t go down low enough. Horrendous. Really bad.”

Hulkenberg said he was unable to avoid dropping to the rear of the field during the race. “The start was pretty much the only positive, to be honest, the only bit of fun.

“After that, very hard work. We had no performance, no balance and not good tyre management or life, so it was pretty hard work out there. Frankly, we were far from points-worthy this weekend.”

Although Hulkenberg got into ninth on lap one, Haas’s struggles around Monza were clear throughout the first stint and he was back in 13th before making his first pit stop. He described it as “more of the same and even worse” when comparing how his VF-23 had performed on other low-downforce circuits.

“Once the tyre has gone through the fresh tyre life, it’s just one way and one direction and that’s backwards. You’re just eating the tyre, the balance is poor, we’re sliding a lot more than other cars. Can’t keep the pace up, using more tyres, so was one of the toughest and worst races of the season.”

“Definitely high track temps and sun doesn’t help our case, but everyone else is facing the same thing and they get through it better,” he added.

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Like Magnussen, Hulkenberg said the team’s performance was compromised by its lack of options for its front wing settings. He called it “a big miss not having a front flap ready for the new front wing,” as Haas brought no upgrades to Monza.

“Quite frankly, we’re not point-worthy also for that reason,” he added.

Haas have now fallen 10 points behind seventh-place Williams in the constructors’ championship, while Alfa Romeo have closed to within a point of them.

“Williams, they look like they’re gone,” Hulkenberg admitted. “They and McLaren obviously made huge progress this year and I don’t see how we can turn this around unless we find something really magic.”

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said before the weekend the team chose not to “invest in a complete new wing for Monza,” which requires extremely low downforce levels compared to most tracks on the calendar.

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2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Haas pair frustrated front wing “couldn’t go down low enough” for Monza”

  1. Haas really badly needs to get into designing the car more so that they understand it far better and can anticipate how it reacts.

    1. I mean, as long as the team is not building their own parts, they’ll never get there. I assume there’s little to no interaction between the manufacturing at Dallara and the design team at Haas. So when would you brainstorm and test and develop something just to see if it works? I assume Haas’ design team relies fully on computer simulations for their development and then has some sort of deal with Dallara that allows them to have a limited time for manufacturing actual parts.

      It’s not like other teams where they’re running two different wings or different floors on the car in FP1 to check some real world data against each other. I just don’t see how Haas will ever compete over a full season with any of the other teams, they’re always going to end up at the back even if their base car they bring to the first week of testing is really good.

  2. How ironic that it is probably Haas who in the past most often lost part of their front wing.
    A strategic nudge at the start (maybe between the 2 cars) might’ve helped them ;)

    1. He meant the back of the wing, the flap, to take angle off. The headline is a bit misleading.

      1. I think he understands that, but was trying to have a laugh, to which I raised a smile.

        1. if you understood that, it’s not really a joke is it. I mean, there’s no irony then.

  3. I blame the machine tools.

    1. Lmao

      I know it’s for a different application, but I still find it ironic that they can’t make their own part.

  4. Could the tires survive a faster Haas though? They can’t deal with it even with more downforce. I don’t know why they ever talk about something else, rather than dealing with tire-eating design they always seem to have. Always like every single season for the last five years or something. That’s unseen. I guess that’s because they don’t design their own cars, so they can never solve their own problems. Ferrari won’t bother, so… Just sell that team to someone serious please, since that’s the only way you’ll allow them to join your F1 cartel.

    1. The more downforce, the less tire wear.

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