Guenther Steiner believes the gelling process among new staff at Haas will stand them in good stead for the 2023 season.
Haas recovered to eighth in the Constructors’ Championship after a 2021 campaign which saw them with the slowest car in the field to begin with and two rookies behind the wheel in Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, but they also opted to not develop that car at all in order to focus all their efforts into Formula 1’s regulation reset of 2022.
Schumacher and the returning Kevin Magnussen helped the team get back into the points, as well as the Dane earning a shock pole position in Brazil late in 2022, and the team principal elaborated on the process they have taken to get to where they are now after a couple of years of toil.
Such has been their rate of progress, in fact, that he hopes to see Haas climb back to their 2018 peak of fifth place in the Constructors’ standings in the next couple of seasons.
“I think we are in a better place,” Steiner explained on the Beyond The Grid podcast.
“In 2018, we had a very good year, ‘19, our car was not up to what we wanted it to be. And then ‘20 came, we quite a few backward hits, I would say, in a very short period of time.
“[In] ‘19, our car wasn’t good. We tried to recover, then 2020 came, we got again, a slap in our face, because we didn’t know if we [could] continue.
“And then we had to come up with ‘21 with having two rookie drivers. But now it’s ’22, we’ve made a big step. So I think in one or two years, our aim is to be where we left off in ‘18.”
Haas have expanded their staff with a new base set up at Maranello, led by former Ferrari chief designer Simone Resta, who came on board as the team’s technical director.
Steiner admitted Haas “got a little bit lucky” in the way budget cap-related cuts were hitting Ferrari, as this enabled Haas to take on members of their staff which were otherwise set to potentially be out of work – liaising with the FIA to bring new technical staff on board and “ramp up” that side of their operation again.
And given what Resta and his team were able to achieve in a short time together in time for the 2022 season, the Haas team boss believes there is more to come from them for the year ahead.
“Even if you get the people, you need to get them to work as a team, and Simone did that in three, four months, and we started development, I would say, intensively, March in ’21,” Steiner explained.
“If you see what the guys did in eight months starting, I wouldn’t say from zero, but from 50%, to come up with a car, where we moved on from last year to this one and therefore, I’m confident that going forward with the step we did in ‘21, we can keep on moving up.
“As I say, I’m cautiously confident looking at next year that these guys did again a good job, but not because they just worked together for a year, they’re just getting better or the organisation is getting better. They’re just more efficient, they know each other. They know their weak points, their good points, everything.
“So they’re working just like a team now, and that should give us a better car for the future – and that is where we came up in the last two years.”