Haas on the VF-23: “Aerodynamically we can say it’s meeting expectations”

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Photo credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

Principal aerodynamicist of MoneyGram Haas F1 Team, Juan Molina, spoke to media back in the paddock during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and explained the progress he feels is being made compared to previous years. In a wide-ranging interview, Juan Molina spoke about the compromises made for upgrades, the inconsistency of the season so far and the potential of his team’s package so far.


This interview took place prior to Kevin Magnussen’s hard-earned point in Miami. Instead, this conversation was during a weekend when Haas F1 Team came P13 and P17 in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. This lack of consistency already evident in Baku was remarked on by Molina when asked for his thoughts on the current VF-23 package. A package which clearly has good DRS and top speed but has brought about inconsistent performances.


“Well, aerodynamically we can say it’s meeting the expectations so compared to last year the data we got from the tunnel it seems to tie up with what we see on track. It does seem like everybody has put quite a lot of performance over the winter, so it’s been quite a step forward for all the teams.

“I’d say OK we are in the midfield around the top sometimes, we are pretty close to everybody else so the gaps are quite small so if you don’t get everything right on a certain weekend you can be pretty far at the back,”

Haas F1 Team’s principal aerodynamicist then continued by explaining how other variables obviously influence a performance and the current regulations make it so that you may lack something in qualifying by choosing to focus on potential race day set up.


“It’s not so much all the pure performance that you see from the aerodynamics point but setting up the car – the driver – adding to this every circuit you have a different choice of rear wing then it can move you a bit back in terms of performance in qualifying versus during the race and having more potential for overtaking or defending. Which is something we’ve improved compared to last year,” said Molina.


Compared to three years ago, Haas F1 Team is now in a much better position in terms of bringing upgrades. However, every race weekend seems to see teams bringing upgrades so no surprise there. Molina though feels that managing upgrades will be the key to success but warned that ‘It’s about compromises, how you develop your package’.


“Of course, we talk about the floor being quite an important part in performance, but you need to understand how you develop the surrounding components. So, how do you manipulate the flow with the front wing and have the suspension going to the floor? How do you get the rear wing or the rear corner to work with the floor so it’s not only about the floor it’s about everything else?

“It’s quite critical how you manage the different components and what upgrades you bring. Obviously, with the budget cap you cannot be doing new noses or some crash tests. As you saw last year the front wing evolutions are slower than in the past but from our point of view, we have a program which has quite decent upgrades through the system,” explained Molina.

“It’s one of the things that we’ve improved compared to last year the rear wing, the DRS effect is much better this year…so last year you had to understand pretty well how the car works, the floor, what direction you want to go in. So, probably was I wouldn’t say less important, but the rear wing might take a step back over understanding how the floor works. Whereas over the winter, with the lessons you learned, you can improve your rear wings.”

When asked about the challenge of bringing a high-performance package to the track in 2023 to hit the heights of front runners like Red Bull Racing, Juan Molina quipped ‘Yeah, it’s difficult’. A response which brought laughter from those in attendance. However, as difficult as it is, progress is being made at Haas F1 team and the return of Nico Hulkenberg has seen the German racer find his best form at times – which has galvanised the team.

Following the cancellation of the GRAN PREMIO DEL MADE IN ITALY E DELL’EMILIA-ROMAGNA 2023 it will actually be this weekend’s FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2023 which brings about Haas F1 Team’s 150th Grands Prix. Last year’s Monaco Grand Prix famously saw Mick Schumacher cause the race to be red-flagged when the gearbox was broken off the back of his Haas car following a heavy impact with the barrier in the middle of the Swimming Pool complex.


A year has certainly made a difference at Haas with the team currently P7 in the F1 Constructors’ Championship on 8 points. Should Haas F1 Team have a successful running on track around the principality, it would firmly show the progress which has been made and they would be targeting their rivals in front as opposed to those chasing them from behind.