Haas hoping to capitalise on Renault-STR shuffle
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner hopes that the recent driver movements at Renault and Scuderia Toro Rosso will help the American team’s constructors’ championship prospects.
The team sits seventh in the standings, one point ahead of Renault and nine behind sixth-placed STR, while Williams is a further 14 in front.
Haas helped its chances by achieving just a second double-points finish of the season in Japan when Kevin Magnussen finished eighth and Romain Grosjean ninth.
Steiner believes with Sainz, who has scored 48 of STR’s 52 points, taking Jolyon Palmer’s seat at Renault and STR’s line-up still uncertain for the upcoming United States Grand Prix, Haas could benefit.
“I hope it helps,” he said. “It could because Sainz is a good driver and he scored almost all of Toro Rosso’s points.
“It’s not a disadvantage for us.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve got confident (of holding on to seventh in the constructors’ championship), but we will try.
“We will work hard. We’ve got closer to Toro Rosso. The battle is not over in there, it just started in my opinion.
“It’s tough. I’d rather be ahead, than behind. It’s the same for Toro Rosso.
“They would rather be nine points ahead than nine behind. It keeps it interesting for the fans.”
Haas plans to bring its final update of the season to its home race in Austin but is not expecting dramatic gains in lap time, as the majority if its focus is on next year’s challenger.
“We have small updates for Austin, the last one for this car,” said Steiner.
“It’s a small modification for the floor but it’s small, it’s not something that will make us go half a second faster, nothing near it.
“You need to try and do what you can do so we do it.”
Haas has struggled with a peaky car this season, struggling to understand its performance from one race weekend to another and from qualifying to the race.
It struggled in the heat of Malaysia but fared much better as temperatures dropped last time out in Japan.
“There’s a lot of teams here who don’t know why they are fast or slow,” added Steiner.
“It has a lot to do with tyres. It seems when it’s colder, it’s easier to work with the tyres. I think that’s part of it.
“On high downforce tracks, our aero is not the best.”
The United States Grand Prix is next on the calendar on October 20-22.