RACE DEBRIEF

    There have been positive noises coming out of Maranello in recent weeks concerning the progress of Ferrari’s new power unit for 2021. And Guenther Steiner, whose Haas team are set to use the unit in their VF-21 this season, says that he too is feeling optimistic about the new engine’s potential.

    Ferrari’s customer teams Haas and Alfa Romeo scored just 11 points between them in 2020 – three for Haas, and eight for Alfa Romeo – while Ferrari themselves limped to sixth in the constructors’ standings, their worst finish since 1980.

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    But with a plan for a new Ferrari power unit having been put into action – which Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto recently said was already showing “very promising” figures on the Maranello dynos – Steiner said he was confident that the new unit would give Haas some much-needed performance in 2021.

    “[Ferrari] made a good step,” said Steiner, whose Haas team have been prevented from firing up the new power unit due to Covid-19 travel restrictions – meaning their first fire-up will be in Bahrain for pre-season testing on March 12-14. “I haven’t seen any data yet – we will just see that one in Bahrain – but supposedly there is a good step forward this year and hopefully we can put it into results.”

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    Haas 2021 launch: The five key questions
    The VF-21 will feature Ferrari's new power unit

    The Ferrari power unit isn’t the only thing that’s new at Haas this year, with the team set to field a pair of F1 rookies this season in the form of Mick Schumacher – son of seven-time champion Michael – and Nikita Mazepin. And although it remains to be seen how well the Ferrari power unit will integrate with Haas’ VF-21, Steiner said that his new drivers, at least, were integrating just fine.

    “Up to now everything has been positive, which is nice to hear, but there’s still work to be done,” he said. “The team likes the two young guys, they have adapted quickly, and they have so much enthusiasm for this.

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    Steiner said that Schumacher and Mazepin were integrating well into the Haas team

    “The drivers obviously like the team too,” he added. “They can see we have a bit of a family atmosphere within the team because we are pretty small. I haven’t heard any negatives. One of my jobs will be to keep all the positives up for the rest of the time they are with us over the next years.”

    With Haas having revealed their dramatically updated 2021 livery on March 4, Schumacher and Mazepin will carry out the physical unveil of the Haas VF-21 in the Bahrain paddock on March 12, ahead of its testing debut.