Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, Suzuka, 2023

Haas not expecting McLaren-style leap forward from major Austin GP upgrade

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Haas have played down expectations of the performance gains they expect from a major upgrade package they will introduce after this weekend’s race.

The team will bring its long-awaited upgrade package for the VF-23 at the United States Grand Prix. Rivals such as McLaren and Aston Martin have made significant steps forward with their cars over the last 12 months.

However chief race engineer Ayao Komatsu said Haas’ upgrade is less about immediately unlocking performance and more about ensuring they get the best out of their new car for 2024.

“I think the concept of the car we’ve got, we’ve been trying to develop it, trying to make it better but we haven’t been really finding the solution,” admitted Komatsu. “So that’s why it’s been quite difficult [to tame].”

Haas have made few changes to their car since the season began. They team got both of their cars into Q3 and scored a point two races ago in Singapore, but are languishing in eighth in the championship. The upgrade which will come at for the Circuit of the Americas is not being introduced with the expectation of immediately making the team more competitive.

There “is a huge push from the factory” to get the upgrades ready in time for Haas’s home race at COTA, said Komatsu, although there is no anticipation of the upgrades enabling an instant jump up the order that would earn them strong results there.

“It’s quite a big update package, but in terms of putting on outright pace [on the car], it’s not that really, if you like,” said Komatsu.

“It’s more we’re doing it, and it’s a different concept, so we learn as much as possible as well. So to [be able to] do that learning in this year ahead of launching next year’s car is quite big.

“I cannot say for certain in terms of outright qualifying performance or race pace performance that we’re going to go ‘X’ amount quicker. But in terms of learning and having different characteristics of the car, I think we have done quite a lot. So it is very important that we do this.”

Despite the scale of change in concept of the car Komatsu says “officially, we’re not really expressing it as a ‘B-spec car.”

“It’s a bodywork change, sidepod inlet, floor, so it’s pretty extensive,” he explained. “We’re not doing front wing or rear wing but the aero characteristics are very different to what we’ve got here.”

Become a RaceFans Supporter

RaceFans is run thanks in part to the generous support of its readers. By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the same in whichever currency you use) you can help cover the costs of creating, hosting and developing RaceFans today and in the future.

Become a RaceFans Supporter today and browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

2023 United States Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 United States Grand Prix articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

6 comments on “Haas not expecting McLaren-style leap forward from major Austin GP upgrade”

  1. That’s OK, nobody does, since they’re not a real constructor. They don’t fulfill current requirements for new F1 teams, not even 50% (which doesn’t make them uncomfortable to be the most vocal opponent of new team’s entry bids).

    1. What’s weird to me is that Haas seems to escape any form of criticism for being literally technically fully reliant on Ferrari, even using Ferrari staff, when that’s apparently a very big hang-up for people on the mere existence of AlphaTauri. Between those two teams, I at least trust the latter to be able to actually produce a car on their own, I could not say the same about Haas.

      1. Did you arrive to F1 just now?
        Haas is not being criticised because they are almost last, when they were kicking Mclaren and other British cars manufacturers one of main F1 talks was Haas – Ferrari connection.

  2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    4th October 2023, 9:44

    I am. I’m expecting big things from Haas singular upgrade.

  3. They gave up one whole season of development promising step forward with ground effect car. Yet the car is still not top 10 material. The owner has put his money an attract engineering talent. Otherwise they would still be a backmarker till the new regulations come.

  4. I can’t believe this team even exists… What a waste of a slot in the pitlane.

Comments are closed.