Steiner: Haas F1 upgrades not fully understood yet

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Haas has certainly has had a fall to reality this year, only sitting 2 points above AlphaTauri in 9th place in the Constructors’ Championship with four races to go. Yuki Tsunoda’s P8 + fastest lap at COTA has left them in danger of finishing last in the standings once again.

Haas normally have a good off-season development cycle, perform well in the early parts of the season, but tail off when the development race starts. However, the team has tried to combat that stereotype recently, as they brought a new upgrade package to both cars to Austin this past week for one of their three home races of the season.

Photo Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

While Team Principal Gunther Steiner’s team showed relatively positive results, having drivers Nico Hulkenberg finish P11 and P14 after disqualifications were applied, Steiner said that the car is not at its fullest potential yet. They realised after the sprint changes were needed, and decided to tweak the set-up before the start of the race, which forced both of his drivers to start from the pitlane.

“I mean, today was better than yesterday. Thank God we made the decision to go out of the pit lane with the changed aero set up.

“Obviously, we now need to look at data and stuff like this to have a better starting position in Mexico with the set-up.”

Steiner gave his team credit for managing such a tough upgrade package in such a small time frame, especially with only one hour of practice before parc fermé conditions. However, the strategy to implement upgrade packages in a sprint race weekend might not have been the best decision, as Steiner admitted.

“We were a little bit behind, knowing that we only had one hour. It’s not like saying that we did a bad job, it was just very tight, such a big upgrade, and going in here.

“But we knew the risk, and we took the risk, but I think we know for sure a lot more now than we did before. And hopefully we can put it into performance in Mexico.”

Steiner, however, said that it’s not time to analyze the full potential of the upgrade, since this weekend was just a learning curve for the team.

”I don’t know how good it is yet. At least both drivers could race some people today, because the last five [races] we were just being overtaken, and at least we could overtake some people today. Are we good enough? No. We need to get more out of it. At least we’re moving in the right direction.”