Haas looking for positives in Spain
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 18th May, 2022 - 9:57am
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner is hoping the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix will mark a change after a disappointing weekend at the Miami Grand Prix.
Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher ran in the points, both having also appeared contenders for a berth in Qualifying 3 on Saturday.
Instead, Magnussen was eliminated in Qualifying 1 and Schumacher was the slowest qualifier in the next segment, leaving them 15th and 16th on the grid respectively.
While they moved forward during the race, both were involved in incidents as the American-registered operation left Miami without scoring.
“It was quite disappointing in both qualifying and the race, but we need to keep positive,” said Steiner.
“The positives are the car is good, we just need to get it on the right set-up, getting the tyres to work properly and the car is right there.
“As you could see during the race in Miami, we made up positions until the Safety Car came out and then we fell back.
“That’s what you have to focus on – staying confident that we have a good machine and that we will make the points that we want to make.”
Formula 1’s return to Europe also sees it return to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which hosted the opening pre-season test of year.
This weekend’s event will therefore offer teams an opportunity to correlate data gleaned from their three days of running in February.
It’s also expected to be where many teams introduce their first significant upgrades of the season, though there is no such step planned for Haas just yet.
“Normally Spain is the obvious place to bring upgrades and I think quite a few teams are planning them,” Steiner said.
“I don’t know how much difference they will make on each car and what they will bring.
“We have decided to wait a little bit longer with upgrades as I still think we have performance in the car without them which we have to get on the track, so sometimes we achieve it, sometimes we don’t.
“We have a good upgrades package in about four or five races coming, so I’m confident about that and what the other ones are bringing, as of right now I don’t know, but I will know a lot more next Monday.”
However, Magnussen suggests the pecking order could swing this weekend.
“I think there’s probably a good chance that the competitive order is going to change around a little bit this year,” said the Dane.
“We’ve seen Mercedes out of shape, sometimes Alfa Romeo has been up there almost with podium pace and other times we’ve been up there, so the competition is very tight, and I think it’s going to make for an interesting season.
“It’s not fun if you know that you can’t be competitive and this time there is no way to say that you can’t be competitive, everyone has a chance.”
Schumacher added: “I’m sure we’ve already seen quite a few changes, teams are still very close together and that’s what we want to see, that’s what this whole change was about in the end.
“I think we’ve managed to get there and hopefully by the end of the season the spread isn’t going to be bigger but actually smaller, and teams still fight heavily between each other and that the midfield pack catches up to the top two teams, which are Ferrari and Red Bull at the moment, that the gap gets smaller and we’re able to fight with them.
“The pace that we had at the end of the race in Imola definitely showed that we were close to them on one lap pace, but race pace is so different when comparing the midfield and top teams, it will be interesting but exciting times ahead.”
Free Practice 1 for the Spanish Grand Prix begins at 22:00 AEST.