Haas hoping for ‘a point or two’ in 2021

Nikita Mazepin exits the garage during pre-season testing

Haas F1 Team boss, Guenther Steiner, has moved to temper expectations ahead of the 2021 season.

The coming year is expected to be a testing one for the American-registered team as it sports two rookie drivers in a car that will receive no development.

Haas last year finished ninth in the constructors’ championship with just three points from 17 races.

It’s prompted a change in approach from the team as it focuses its efforts on next year’s championship.

As a result, Steiner is looking to use the 2020 season as a learning experience for Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin ahead of a more competitive showing in 12 months.

“I would hope that our two drivers have learned as much as possible and maybe even more than that in order to get ready for next year,” Steiner said of his hopes for the coming season.

“If we can get a point or two at some stage – that would be a fantastic result. But we are realistic, and points will be hard to come by.

“As long as we learn, we improve, and can get back to where we were in the past – I’m happy.

“It’s going to be a hard climb this season, but we will get something good out of it, we always do.”

Guenther Steiner

The Italian suggests the arrival of an all-new driving roster will keep the team motivated as the youngsters develop throughout the season.

“That will come with some excitement, I’m sure of that,” he said of Schumacher’s and Mazepin’s arrivals.

“Then the light at the end of the tunnel is 2022 where we will be back at our full strength because we regrouped last year and we made a step back to make two forward.

“For sure, some things will be challenging – also personally to keep on pushing, but I think we can do this.

“In the end, it’s all in nine months, but it’s 23 races. We are prepared for it and we’ll get it done.”

While the Haas VF-21 will receive no ongoing development, it will start the season with a new power unit.

The team’s supply deal with Ferrari means it has received the upgraded 065/6 engine for the coming year.

Pre-season testing showed that to be a step forward on last year’s effort from Maranello, which was regarded as the weakest on the grid.

Exactly how much benefit Haas will receive as a result of the new engine is uncertain, even after pre-season testing.

“For us it’s very difficult to have a back-to-back with the power unit from last year,” Steiner reasoned.

“But I fully trust Ferrari in what they are saying to us as well as what they’re doing. We can see on their car that it’s better.

“For us, our testing was mainly focused on getting the two rookies as many laps as possible,” he added.

“We couldn’t really do back-to-back as Mick, for example, was only in last year’s car for one full day after Abu Dhabi, and Nikita only drove a Haas F1 car for the first time on our shakedown in Bahrain this year.

“I fully trust in Ferrari and I’m sure that the power unit is more powerful.”

The 2021 Formula 1 season gets underway on Friday with Free Practice 1 scheduled for 22:30 AEDT.

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