Haas face up to 'year of learning' as they keep eye on 'bigger picture' of 2022
Following the launch of their new livery, Haas say they are heading into the 2021 campaign with their eyes wide open, with owner Gene Haas and Team Principal Guenther Steiner accepting it will be a “year of learning” as they keep an “eye on the bigger picture” of 2022's new - and potentially seismic - rule changes.
The Ferrari-powered American team have swapped the experience of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen for a rookie line-up this season, featuring Mick Schumacher – F2 champion and Ferrari junior – and Russian Nikita Mazepin, whose father Dmitry brings significant financial backing to the team.
It’s part of a plan to focus their resource on car development for 2022 – which means the VF-21 will go undeveloped.
“We are pleased to be partnered by Uralkali this season and beyond,” said Steiner. “We approach a new season with a new title partner and two new drivers, it’s going to be an exciting year ahead – hopefully exciting only in a good way though. We face a year of learning with the drivers while technically we look ahead to the future.
It’s been a tough couple of seasons, but we’ve also got our eye on the bigger picture, in particular 2022 and the implementation of the new regulations
“It’s no secret that the VF-21 will not be developed as we focus our energies now on the 2022 car and, what we hope, will be a more level-playing field. We all know roughly where we expect to be this season in terms of the competition, but we must ensure we’re there to capitalize on opportunities when they present themselves.
“But first we have to get the guys dialled in at testing. Time behind the wheel is short – so it’ll be a steep curve, but I’m personally looking.”
Gene Haas added: “It’s an exciting time for the team with Uralkali coming onboard and having Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher driving for us.
“It’s definitely a case of all change but I’m hoping that we get back to being in the mix for scoring some points at these races. It’s been a tough couple of seasons, but we’ve also got our eye on the bigger picture, in particular 2022 and the implementation of the new regulations.”
Schumacher and Mazepin will present the VF-21 in the Bahrain pit lane on March 12, 1.5 hours before the three-day pre-season test begins, and will subsequently split the driving duties between them each day.