Haas chief Steiner targeting points in every race for the remainder of 2023
Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner is targeting points in every race for the remainder of 2023 as the team gears up for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix this weekend.
The squad head to Baku in seventh place in the constructors’ championship, with seven points, thanks to successive points finishes in Saudi Arabia and Australia. Nico Hulkenberg’s P7 in Melbourne was particularly sweet as it secured Haas's best result since July 2022.
Both Kevin Magnussen and Hulkenberg know their way around the Baku City Circuit, having been part of the inaugural race on the city’s streets in 2016 – and Haas are expecting progress both in the immediate future and going forward for the rest of the season.
Team boss Steiner was particularly hopeful that the remaining races could bring more joy with a lofty target to score points in each one, even though the team hasn’t scored around the City of Winds since 2017.
“It’s difficult to say because it’s not only our form,” Steiner said, responding to whether the team could break their Azerbaijan point-scoring drought.
“I think our car isn’t perfect, but I don’t know where the rest of the cars are perfect this year. I let myself be surprised when we go out in first practice and see what we can do, but this year it could be possible that our car scores points in every race. That’s the aim anyway so let’s hope after 2017, 2023 is the year that we score points in Baku.”
Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix much of the focus is on the new Sprint format, approved on Tuesday, that will make its debut this weekend.
The tweaks see the F1 Sprint effectively become a standalone feature on Saturdays, with the event bearing no impact on the Grand Prix grid itself. Fridays will now include an FP1 session and standard qualifying session to set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix, while Saturdays will include the continuing 100km dash with an additional, preceding qualifying session called the ‘Sprint Shootout’.
The tweaks will add an additional challenge for the drivers to get to grips with over a race weekend, and Steiner declared he was a fan of the revised method for the Sprint.
“I definitely prefer the new set-up because Saturday morning practice is pretty pointless as you couldn’t change anything on the car,” he said.
“You just went out there, did laps and tried to understand the tyres – I don’t think that’s very interesting for the fans. A second qualifying is a lot better for the fans, and also for us, as it gives you excitement.
“We’ve got a lot of things going on at the weekend, two qualifying sessions and two races, and I think that’s great for the sport.”
For many of the teams across Formula 1, the spring break has allowed them to rest, reassess and try to make important gains ahead of the return of racing this weekend.
With an intense period about to come – five race weekends in the space of six weeks - Haas themselves have done what they can with the pause to try and make progress.
“With the unintended break, we tried to make the best out of it,” Steiner added. “Firstly, I told people to rest a little bit and get ready for a tough season in front of us, as the real season starts now with the double-header and then the triple-header.
“The design team is working on the last little bits for upgrades that we bring in the next races, starting in Miami. We also put a few things in place like the race team going to a team-bonding event for two days in Wales.”