Steiner thinks Haas are no longer ‘the slowest ones’

Michelle Foster
Haas driver Nikita Mazepin in his pit box. Barcelona February 2022.

Nikita Mazepin is lifted up by his engineers in his Haas pit box. Barcelona February 2022.

Guenther Steiner concedes Haas have no idea where they stand in the pecking order, but he is confident they aren’t the “slowest”, nor are they the “fastest ones” either.

Haas covered the fewest laps of any team during last week’s three-day group shakedown at the Circuit de Catalunya with 160, a third of what the busiest team, Ferrari, managed.

The pace also wasn’t there for the American team as they struggled to put in the long runs that would have given them a better understanding of their VF-22.

Nikita Mazepin finished with a 1:21.512, 14th fastest overall, while Mick Schumacher clocked a best time of 1:21.949, P18 of the 21 drivers.

But with the lap times in pre-season testing counting for very little, Steiner says the only thing he is sure of is that Haas is not the slowest team on the grid. Nor, he acknowledges, are they the fastest.

“I think nobody knows where anybody stands,” he told Motorsport.com. “Obviously, I don’t think we’re the fastest ones, but I don’t think we’re the slowest ones either.”

Haas like their rivals found their all-new ground effect aerodynamic car bouncing along the straights, porpoising as it is known.

Most of the drivers complained about this during the Spanish test, although some teams such as McLaren seem to resolved the issue already.

“Like everybody else, we need to learn about the floor, the porpoising. I think everybody will get on top of it. F1 teams are pretty good to react,” Steiner said.

“We found out at the filming day, and we had staff in the wind tunnel the same night. The aero guys were straight into it, to get a little bit of pressure out.”

The team boss, though, concedes his team had just one good day out of the three in Barcelona.

“We didn’t do enough running,” he said. “The first day we had a few gremlins, very small issues with big consequences, well perhaps not big but medium consequences, so we didn’t do enough.

“Part of it was the floor. But in the morning we had a fuel pump issue, internal leakage in the fuel tank, so the pressure wasn’t right. And then we had the battery cooling pipe leaking a little bit, and then the pressure goes away, and you cannot run the battery, because otherwise you burn it out.

“The second day was actually pretty good, we learned a lot, and that’s what gives me good hope, if you get a clean day, and you make quick progress. A lot was learned throughout the second day.

“On Friday morning we had an oil leak after nine laps and took the engine out, tried to fix it, put the engine in, and the oil leak was bigger. So that was our day. The verdict on the test is the second day was good, the rest not as much.”

 

The team’s efforts to get on top of the niggles wasn’t helped by the all-new cars and Haas’ still early understanding of their own VF-22.

“They are very complicated these cars, and if you take everything out the first time, for the mechanics it’s just difficult,” he said.

“So these things, when you’ve got them the first time, it takes longer to see what it is and then longer to fix, because the guys have been used to a car which was almost three years old, and now everything’s new.”

 

PlanetF1 Verdict

 

Haas not the fastest but not the slowest either

Guenther Steiner believes that Haas are no longer the slowest on the grid.