Steiner ‘cautiously optimistic’ that Haas will return to midfield fight in 2022
Life has been tough for Haas these past few campaigns. But Team Principal Guenther Steiner believes that F1’s new 2022 regulations present a golden opportunity for the team to get themselves back in the midfield fight and rediscover their form from a few seasons ago.
Just three points have been scored by Haas since the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, all of them taken in the 2020 season – with Haas’ rookie line-up of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin yet to score in 2021, making Haas the only team still to get off the mark this season.
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That’s partly down to Haas’ decision not to develop this year’s VF-21 package and focus their attention on their challenger for Formula 1’s radical new 2022 regulations instead – an approach which Steiner said appeared to be working well.
“The ’22 car’s development is going well, we are making progress each wind tunnel session,” said Steiner, before comparing the current situation to when Haas first entered the sport in 2016.
“It’s a little bit like ’15 or ’16 to me, but to say how good we are, I have no idea, because I don’t know how good the other nine teams are. But as a team, we work now again like we did in ’15, ’16 and ’17 [with] the technical team in Italy, and I’m cautiously optimistic that we will be in the midfield again next year.”
There have been big changes off-track for Haas recently, with Simone Resta brought over from Ferrari to take on the Technical Director role at the American team for 2021, while Haas have also gained a new technical hub in Maranello, as part of their closer ties with Ferrari.
And Steiner said he believed the team were now “in good shape” to rediscover a similar level of performance in 2022 to when they finished a shock fifth in the 2018 constructors’ standings.
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“You could bolster everything, always,” said Steiner, when asked what else could be improved at Haas in readiness for 2022. “You can always do better, but I think the other aspects of the team, they are in good shape I would say. The race team is in good shape and there will be no big changes there.
“I think we will be ready,” he added. “There are still a lot of people from 2018 when we finished fifth in the championship, so these people are still good and they haven’t forgotten how to do this. I rely on these people and I am confident they can pull it off again, that we [will] have good results – maybe not fifth but at least being back in the midfield like were in ’16 and ’17.”