Steiner – F1 has no back-of-the-grid teams this season

Guenther Steiner sees no back-of-the-grid teams in F1 this yearGuenther Steiner sees no back-of-the-grid teams in F1 this year

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes there is no back-of-the-grid team in F1 this season.

The opening two races of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia appear to have already established a pecking order.

Red Bull is seemingly in a class of its own at the front of the field after scoring a brace of one-twos to open a campaign for the first time in its 19-season history.

Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari are then vying for the best-of-the-rest tag, with Alpine at the back of that pack.

Beyond that, Haas is joined by Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Williams and AlphaTauri in what Steiner claims makes up the midifeld. The quintet has scored just six points between them.

‘There are four very strong teams now in Formula 1,” assessed Steiner.

“It means there are only a few points available for the midfield teams and everyone is in that midfield. From P6 down it’s all midfield, there is nobody behind.

“So we must take every opportunity. I think we are in the midfield, the upper end of it, but every race could see a change in where each team is.

“The only thing to do at the moment is to work hard and try not to make mistakes because they will cost dearly.”

Steiner believes point breeds motivation

Haas at least managed to get off the mark in the last race in Saudi Arabia where Kevin Magnussen finished 10th.

The Dane had to work hard to clamber into the points as the VF-23 adapted well to the high-speed layout of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit where tyre degradation was less of an issue than the Bahrain International Circuit a fortnight previously.

With Steiner confirming Haas’ target is to improve on its eighth place in last year’s constructors’ standings, he added: “In Bahrain, we didn’t score but now we’ve scored one point, in Saudi Arabia, and it was done pretty well.

“By saying that, I mean we didn’t luck into the point, we fought well for it.

“Getting points is the biggest motivation for the team, if you get points the team is happy and motivated to get up and go to the next race.”

Next up is this weekend’s race at Melbourne’s Albert Park that last year unveiled a number of changes to improve the racing spectacle.

Magnussen, for one, feels the tighter, slightly twistier original version was better from a driver’s perspective.

“I think the promoter has done a pretty good job with the new layout, but I don’t know if it’s better,” said Magnussen.

“I still really like the old track. It had real character to it and now it’s maybe a bit similar to other tracks we go to.

“But it’s become a faster and more flowing circuit, which is fun in a Formula 1 car. I do like the old track a bit more.”

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