Steiner suggests there is no F1 midfield
By Mat Coch
Monday 27th February, 2023 - 3:44am
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has suggested there is no longer a midfield in F1 as the gap between teams closes.
Last season, the top three teams proved some way clear of the chasing pack, with Alpine and McLaren occupying a space of their own in behind.
The remainder of the field was tightly bunched, with 20 points separating Alfa Romeo Sauber in six in the constructors’ championship from Scuderia AlphaTauri in ninth.
According to Steiner, the teams behind the leading three are set to be more evenly matched than ever.
“I think there is no midfield anymore,” he told media, including Speedcafe, in Bahrain.
“It’s the top teams and then the rest. I think that is my opinion, seeing it now.”
In recent years, the gap between the front and back of the F1 grid has been reducing, with the field far more tightly condensed than at most points during the world championship’s seven-decade history.
Levelling the playing field
A significant contributor to that is the way technical regulations have been framed, limiting the freedom teams have to find significant advances.
However, larger teams could still get ahead by the sheer weight of investment, a point that has recently been addressed with the introduction of financial regulations.
Because of that, while Red Bull looked like the team to beat in pre-season testing, Steiner still isn’t willing to brand the Milton Keynes squad as outright favourites just yet.
“It is close,” he reasoned.
“When you talk about tenths of seconds close – and it’s very difficult to anticipate – I think it will keep on closing.
“I think Red Bull, in the moment, is a little but ahead of everybody, it looks to me, but it’s also a feeling – I don’t know their fuel load or engine mode they’re running.
“But I think it is closing in total, the gap, as well. And it should. In theory, it should because there is a budget cap so nobody can go out and spend stupid amounts of money to get better.
“And then the regulations are stable.”
The 2023 Formula 1 season gets underway this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix, for which Free Practice 1 begins at 14:30 local time (22:30 AEDT) on Friday.
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