Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has been left frustrated ahead of the United States Grand Prix after watching his attempts to turn their season around fail at the first hurdle. The American outfit had hoped to pick up a decent haul of points at their second home race of the season in Austin with a huge upgrade, but Steiner was forced to dial down their ambitious predictions after a disappointing run on Saturday.
Haas’ changes include bringing an entirely new concept to their 2023 car, which has seen it dubbed the ‘white Red Bull’ by members of the media in the paddock. But their pace showed they are some distance from matching the Constructors’ champions after a dismal first outing in the F1 Sprint.
And Steiner conceded that he wasn’t too amused to see their hard work fail to yield the desired results at the Circuit of the Americas.
“It didn’t go to plan today,” he told reporters. “We’ve got more work to do but, initially, we’re not very happy with what’s happened, so we have to see how we tackle tomorrow.
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“We found a few things and went in the wrong direction, but it’s difficult to jump to a conclusion after one practice, two qualifying sessions and one short race. But at the moment, we have to find more as the upgrade has not done what we expected.”
Both Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen failed to get out of the first section of the sprint shootout qualifying and the pair struggled for pace in the 19-lap race later on Saturday. Hulkenberg only managed to finish 15th while Magnussen dropped to 18th to cap a miserable day for the team, backed by American businessman Gene Haas.
Magnussen’s comments set the tone as the Dane, speaking after the sprint race, said: “It wasn’t a great sprint, the pace dropped off a lot, so we’ll investigate tonight and assess what we think. We can’t change anything for tomorrow, so it is what it is and we’ll see what we can do.”
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Haas were hamstrung by the recently-introduced sprint format, which has significantly changed the schedule for teams and drivers. Instead of running three practice sessions as they do on a normal race weekend, all 10 teams are given just one 60-minute session to test and tweak their setup before the sprint.
For that reason, Steiner has reason to be optimistic that their upgrades will eventually bring some improvements once they collect more data: “It feels like the first real running with the car, to be honest, because in practice there’s so many things going on,” the Italian added.
“Then, there were just two qualifying sessions which were also short, just two runs each time, or less. It’s good to get some proper mileage with it, some long-run data and some feel for it.
“Obviously, it doesn’t look too good right now, but there’s more for us to analyse and understand and more to discover with this package. At a sprint weekend, it’s difficult to explore that and unlock it.”
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