Low-key 2023 F1 launch for Haas
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 1st February, 2023 - 1:01pm
The comparatively muted launch of the Haas F1 Team’s 2023 livery came as the team places its full focus on getting the VF-23 on track.
The first team to unveil its new look, Haas issued a media release and selection of renders to showcase its revised look.
It is, predictably, different to that of recent years owing in large part to the arrival of new title sponsor, MoneyGram.
But aside from the look of the car, there was nothing more; no media sessions, no live stream, no real substance beyond the images themselves.
Instead, we learned the Haas VF-23 will have its first shakedown at Silverstone on February 11 ahead of 2023 F1 pre-season testing starting in Bahrain on February 23.
The low-key launch was not for a lack of interest by the team, but instead because the team doesn’t want to say too much before the car has been on track.
Haas is a team that has experienced the lows of Formula 1 in the recent past. That pain remains very real for the American-owned operation.
Guenther Steiner has set the realistic target of becoming a consistent midfield contender, but there was no chat about that at launch.
“I obviously share everyone’s enthusiasm around the livery unveil, not least as it’s a checkpoint in the pre-season calendar which means we’re another step closer to doing the thing we actually want to be doing – and that’s go racing,” said Steiner, Team Principal of Haas F1 Team.
“I like the livery, it’s undoubtedly a more elevated and modernized look which is fitting as we move into a new era alongside MoneyGram as our title partner.
“It’s an exciting time of year for Formula 1 and it’s great that we’re first out the gate to showcase our livery but our attention is firmly on getting the VF-23 on track and preparing for the season ahead.
“We really have something to build on following last year’s performances.
“The whole organisation has been working hard to reach this point and obviously in Kevin (Magnussen) and Nico (Hülkenberg), we have two proven points-scoring talents locked in behind the wheel. I can’t wait to get started.”
His comments, predictably, centre on the team’s new investment and highlight the commercial changes within the team.
He also noted the arrival of Nico Hulkenberg, who adds strength in depth to the driver ranks.
That was, arguably, Haas’ greatest weakness last season.
While it had a car capable of scoring points, it wasn’t always able to maximise those chances.
Part of that was reliability, or lack of it, courtesy of the Ferrari technical relationship and the issues the Prancing Horse experienced in 2022.
But part of that is also down to the driver, with Mick Schumacher simply not experienced enough in the first half of the season to match Kevin Magnussen.
And that could have made a difference – each place in the constructors’ championship is worth (roughly) $10 million.
Haas finished eighth in the constructors’ championship with 37 points, just 18 down on both Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo Sauber.
Stronger early form when the car was at its most competitive could well have added to Haas’ points tally while taking away from its rivals. Who knows what that might have meant in the final washup.
But in a competitive midfield, it is far from an easy task as the team ramps up for 2023.
The year ahead, as things stand, looks like one filled with opportunity for Haas, but until the car is on track, the team has nothing really to say.
For that reason, Haas opted to keep its powder dry and use the opportunity of its car launch to garner attention for its commercial partners, and not talk up its own chances.
You can stay across F1 throughout the 2023 season with dates, drivers, key personnel and more with Speedcafe.com’s Key Details reference, available here.
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