Guenther Steiner shares Mexican Grand Prix concerns after Friday practice

Michelle Foster
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen locks up.

Haas are worried their package isn't enough for the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Guenther Steiner is worried Haas could be in for a difficult Mexican Grand Prix weekend as their VF-23 package is “just not enough” for the high altitude of Mexico City.

Racing at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is different from any other circuit on the calendar as, situated over 7,200 feet above sea level, the air density creates a challenge when it comes to cooling as well as downforce.

And it’s one Haas admit could trip them up.

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Having put a B-spec car on the track at the previous race in Austin, Haas’ upgraded VF-23 is still in its infancy with Kevin Magnussen calling it the “early version” of next year’s car.

It showed in Friday’s results with Nico Hulkenberg being 15th on the timesheet while Magnussen was 19th.

Steiner is worried Haas’ high downforce package just isn’t enough to deal with the challenges of the circuit.

“It looks like our heaviest downforce package is just not enough for here, we’ve struggled in the slower sectors because of the thin air at this altitude,” said the Italian.

“It’s one of these things.

“We’ll work on it for next year so that our high downforce package works here as well.”

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Magnussen, who missed Friday’s opening practice hour as Haas put Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman in the car, was over 1.4s down on P1 holder Max Verstappen.

He didn’t sound at all encouraged about his chances of progressing this weekend.

“The pace didn’t look too good. I didn’t do a long run on the mediums, only on the softs, and they wore out very quickly and had a lot of graining, so that wasn’t too easy,” he said.

“We were checking to see if the softs could be used in the race, but it doesn’t look like it.

“It’s often hard to predict, even after Friday, where we’ll stack up, but I didn’t learn too much today having only one session, hopefully, I can get a feel of the other compounds tomorrow.”

As for Hulkenberg, he called it a “challenging day.

“Obviously, coming to Mexico each year we have the same challenge with the thin air, it has some pretty significant side effects. It didn’t feel too good today and the timesheets also don’t look too good so there’s some homework for us to do to find some performance overnight.

“We’ve had two solid sessions of work, progress, and exploring things, so that was definitely a positive.”

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