Haas considering breaking away from Ferrari’s design philosophy

Michelle Foster
Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg in the pits at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023.

Haas' Nico Hulkenberg in the pits at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023.

Having stayed true to Ferrari’s design philosophy since arriving on the grid in 2016, Haas are contemplating breaking away from that with Simone Resta’s team looking at Red Bull’s downwash sidepods.

Despite in the past having been criticised by some rivals for being Ferrari’s B-team with their ‘white Ferrari’, Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has always maintained it is what is especially as his F1 cars carry a fair amount of Ferrari parts from the engine to the gearbox to the suspension.

But with Red Bull running rampant over their rivals in the new ground effect aerodynamic era, the team on an 11-race winning streak, Haas are now considering a different design path.

Haas ‘not looking for excuses, we just have to improve our performance’

This season already, the Formula 1 grid has seen Williams and McLaren both move closer to the Red Bull philosophy with their cars, the teams adopting the downwash sidepod concept – and making gains having done so.

It has Haas’ technical director Resta admitting the time has come for Haas, who have scored just 11 points this season, to also review the Red Bull solution.

“Clearly the bodywork is something that is getting a lot of attention,” he said as per Motorsport.com. “Formula 1 is very glamorous so yeah, I understand it.

“But if you look at the bodywork, essentially you’ve got the follow-up part of the undercut where the style is similar between all the cars, there’s some who have pushed a little bit more, some a bit less. Then there is the side part, which is very wide, and then there is the rearward part.

“In this part, we are a bit different to the others. Of course, we have been looking at things from the beginning of the regulations, so from the middle of 2021, we thought we picked up the best option for us.

“We keep reviewing it. We reviewed it for this year’s car and we keep looking at it. We might change, we might not. Let’s see.”

But Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg may have to wait until next season for the change to happen, if it does, with Resta saying time is running out for Haas to make the call.

“We are entering into a window where it’s more and more difficult to upgrade this year’s car in terms of timing,” he said.

“But still, we are in July and the season will end up close to the end of the year. So technically there could be time to change also the complete bodywork if we think it makes the car faster.”

Resta’s comments come in the wake of Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff telling the media, including PlanetF1.com, that there is clearly one solution that is working over and above everyone else’s.

“Maybe we’ll see that the strong cars all look a little bit the same when you look from the side and from the top down,” he said. “That has played in our minds already back in the day but, maybe, that’s just a little more indication where it goes.”

While Mercedes previously ran zero-pods, they dropped those in favour of something more along the Red Bull route, while earlier this season Ferrari also flattened out their inwash baby baths.

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Resta added: “Honestly, we’re not looking for excuses, we just have to improve our performance. We’ve got a good architecture of the car, we’re happy with that. We just have to improve it here and there.

“We could do different bodywork, different floors, different wings and stuff and move forward. We don’t need excuses, we just have to build performance, develop faster, bring quickly stuff to the track that works and move forward. There’s scope to do that.

“It’s fair to say, though, that in terms of timing, we are close to the summer shutdown. And so therefore, you are entering into a window of time where you start to transition yourself normally to the new car. So, we are trying to spread our resources across two projects.”

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