Steiner hopes Haas can rekindle love for Bahrain

Jamie Woodhouse

Haas principal Guenther Steiner hopes his team can rediscover their love for the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.

The 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix was a rough Sunday for the American outfit with Kevin Magnussen finishing P13 while Romain Grosjean retired after tangling with Racing Point’s Lance Stroll early in the race.

But prior to that, Haas had always enjoyed the Bahrain International Circuit.

In 2016, Haas’ debut season, Grosjean finished the Bahrain Grand Prix in P5, while Kevin Magnussen qualified in the top seven here in 2018 and 2019.

The difference is this time the Bahrain Grand Prix is taking place towards the end of the season rather than its common slot as Round 2 on the calendar.

Nevertheless, Steiner hopes his team can rediscover their Bahrain form in what has been a difficult 2020 for the team.

Asked if Haas’ previous strong results in Bahrain were due to teams having limited time to develop before it, Steiner told the Haas website: “I don’t think so, I think it’s more the Bahrain track has always suited our car – at least from 2016, 17 and 18.

“I think we were just at the right place at the right time at these races. There’s no special magic in it that we always seem to run quite strong there. The only thing I would say is, I would love to see it happen again this year.”

The final three rounds of the 2020 season, two of which will take place in Bahrain and the final round in Abu Dhabi, will be held as night races.

And Steiner believes it really enhances the spectacle of a grands prix when the lights are on.

“I think night races are very cool. Obviously, if the majority were night races then it wouldn’t be so cool anymore, but at the moment the races we do have – I really like them,” he said.

“They’re really enjoyable and it just changes it up a bit. It helps because during the day in those places it’s really hot. At least in the evening when the sun is down it’s a lot more comfortable to work in for all the teams. I think it’s a very good thing to have a few races on the calendar under the lights.”

Get your hands on the official Haas 2020 collection via the Formula 1 store

The second Bahrain race, being called the Sakhir Grand Prix, will take place around the shorter and faster ‘Outer Circuit’.

Steiner is a big fan of the sport trialing new concepts and circuits, and this experiment is no different.

“I obviously like different things done differently – just to spice things up and to present new challenges, just so we don’t have more of the same old all the time,” he explained.

“I’m a big supporter of having two track layouts on the one racetrack. I think it shows smart thinking, so let’s see what it brings. But when things don’t work, I’m also one of the first to say we shouldn’t go back and do this again.

“I’m really looking forward to Bahrain. Regarding the second layout, there’s nothing special that we’ve done. We do our normal stuff of gathering information on the new layout and try to do the best simulation we can.”

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