Guenther Steiner has admitted that he and Haas didn’t expect their 2021 campaign to get quite as bad as it did.
The American team spent the season firmly at the back of the field and ended it at the bottom of the standings without a single point to their name.
That was widely expected by most given that they had endured a poor 2020 campaign and had opted not to develop their car from that point, instead focusing all of their efforts on their 2022 challenger.
However, while the team too knew things were going to be difficult, Steiner says it got worse than they had expected.
“We knew we were going to fall behind at a certain point,” the team principal said to GPFans.
“But you don’t expect it to get that bad, at least we didn’t take it into account.
“What happened last year with the start of the pandemic, a car that wasn’t good and then also stopping its development, I knew it was going to be bad.”
Happy New Year 🎉
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) January 1, 2022
It was the first time since the team joined the sport in 2016 that they entered every single race weekend all but certain that they were going to be at the back of the field for the entirety of it.
Before 2021, they’d usually been a midfield team, regularly making it to Q2 and even Q3 at times on Saturdays before often fighting for a top-10 finish on race days.
Despite that step backwards though, Steiner says the team worked as hard as ever but admits it was painful for them at the end of weekends in which they’d been rock bottom throughout.
“When you start on a Sunday, you know it’s bad because we were not competitive at all,” he added.
“Still, you always try to make the best of it and never give up, but fair is fair, on Sunday night it’s tough.”
With them focusing more on their 2022 car than any other team, the American outfit will surely make a step forward next season, but whether that can be a big step is questionable given their lack of resources compared to their rivals.
Even so, Mick Schumacher says the signs are “very positive” so far and the German has big expectations himself.
Steiner surprised by end-of-year Haas speed
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is unsure where his team's extra pace came from at the final races of the year.