“Hopefully it will deliver” — Haas to run updates with one car at F1 Chinese GP

Photo credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
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Haas is on the up and up this year, with improved race pace and less tyre degradation—and they will be aiming to make another step forward with their first upgrade package of the season, set to debut in China this weekend.

Haas is arguably experiencing something of a renaissance. Four points picked up in the space of four rounds may not seem like a major accomplishment, but to everyone at the team it’s tangible proof that they finally seem to be moving in the right direction. 

After finishing last in 2023, they are currently seventh in the Constructors’ standings. Their closest rivals—Williams, Sauber and Alpine—are yet to score points, crippled by reliability concerns, sluggish pit stops, parts shortages, and a general lack of pace. 

“It’s performing differently,” Kevin Magnussen said of the 2024 challenger. “You’re able to keep your tyres alive and be in the fight all the way through the race.”

With the returning Shanghai venue hosting the first sprint weekend of the year, Haas will only have one practice session to gather data on the upgrade package—but two opportunities to test it in race conditions.

According to German outlet AMuS, Magnussen is expected to run the upgrade first, while Nico Hülkenberg will have to wait until the European leg of the season to test the package.

Magnussen explained that the planned upgrades will mainly focus on enhancing performance, praising the efforts made to get the team to this point after a difficult 2023 season. 

“We need more performance to be staying where we are right now in the championship,” he said. “But we’re working on that, and hopefully it will deliver when we get it to the car.

“So far, it’s been going well. Over the winter, we shifted focus to this year’s car quite late—or at least we had a big break in working on this car at the end of last year.

“I feel the development trajectory has also been looking good. Hopefully, when we put those things on the car, it’s going to work.”

Asked to elaborate on the areas Haas hopes to improve to find extra performance going forward, Magnussen said, “Yeah, it’s everything. I think mainly aerodynamically, of course.

“That’s the biggest factor in the development race in Formula 1. But yeah, I think overall, as I said, we need to continue to understand the car and get more out of it. And hopefully we can deliver with the upgrades.”

Magnussen added that he and his teammate are pulling in the same direction when it comes to technical feedback. 

“It’s an engineering thing, but I think me and Nico need to constantly be very clear about what we need from the car,” he said. “Not just say we need more downforce, but also in what way and exactly where in the corner the car is doing what. And really in detail explain what we feel.

“It’s interesting. We’re very much aligned in our feedback and what we feel we need from the car.”

Hülkenberg echoed the sentiment, saying that the team will aim to boost the VF-24’s capabilities in high speed sections of the track.

“Probably in high and medium speed corners, you know, everything that is flowing and quite fast, that’s, I think, still… If you compare it to the top cars, you know, that’s what most of the lap time difference is. 

“And also there, obviously, in the race. A lot of high-speed corners means high energies and tyres, so that’s where you can get some big gains.”