The qualifying pace of the Haas VF-19 has been a revelation this season, but their race pace has failed to be a match. In Bahrain and China, points slipped out of the American team’s grasp as they struggled to make the Pirelli tyres work and while they have identified the issues, Team Principal Guenther Steiner is still expecting a “difficult” weekend at the upcoming race in Azerbaijan…
Haas join Ferrari and Mercedes as the only team to have got both cars into Q3 in each of the opening three races, and while they scored points in Australia, they didn’t have the pace to do that in the following two Grands Prix.
The American team made in-roads into what was going wrong during the two-day in-season test in Bahrain, that followed the Grand Prix, but they haven’t yet had time to develop those solutions and parts and get them on the car.
“Baku will be another difficult event for us because of the long straight and the slow, low-energy corners,” said Steiner.
“Hopefully some of our solutions will work, which we’ve been working on since the test in Bahrain – to get the tyres into the window. Otherwise, Baku could be another difficult circuit for us.
“You always expect the unexpected, but we need to get lucky at some stage because, up until now, we haven’t had a lot of good luck. Hopefully, if something should happen, we’ll be in a good position and can get something out of it in a good way for us.”
Tyre struggles are nothing new for Haas, the team having had issues with in consistently in their short history in F1 – and that has hampered their ability to maximise the performance of their chassis.
“I couldn’t say that it’s more difficult than last year because the car is different – we’ve developed a completely new car,” said Steiner.
“We just know that we cannot get the tyres to work in the race. How big the window is, and to keep in it, is difficult to define. We definitely don’t get it in the window, so I wouldn’t know what it takes to keep it in the window.”
Haas are currently P6 in the constructors' championship, four points back from Alfa Romeo and tied on eight points with McLaren.