Steiner: Haas must stop ‘hesitating’ on strategy

Michelle Foster
Mick Schumacher ahead of Lewis Hamilton in practice. Silverstone July 2022

Haas driver Mick Schumacher running ahead of Lewis Hamilton in practice. Silverstone July 2022

Having dropped the ball a few times this season, Guenther Steiner admits Haas are “a little bit insecure” when it comes to strategy.

The Italian, though, believes a few races where they get it right and their confidence will be bolstered.

Haas’ 2022 championship began with three points-scoring results in the first four races. The points then dried up from Miami onwards.

While part of that has been down to pace or reliability, Haas blighted by several Ferrari power unit issues, the pit wall has not always helped the situation.

Two-stopping both cars in Spain where the rest of the field went with a three-stopper cost them late in the race, while in Canada the strategists got it wrong with Kevin Magnussen when they did not pit him under a VSC.

“We always need to do something better,” Steiner conceded, quoted by Autosport. “We need to do that [strategy] better. We need to work on that.

“It’s not that you don’t know the strategy and what to do, but we hesitate sometimes to make decisions. We are a little bit insecure about it and the more mistakes you make, the more insecure you get.

“At some stage it just comes back, though. You need a few good results and a few right decisions and it’s back. So we need to work on that.”

Steiner believes part of Haas’ strategy problem is the hangover from 2021 when they were racing to finish, not score.

“After two years like we had there is a little bit of a confidence issue, which everybody gets,” he said. “You don’t want to do the wrong thing. And that sometimes prevents you to do the right thing.

“It may sound strange, but that’s what is happening when you have to take these decisions. You have to take the decisions in seconds.

“Sometimes you freeze and you don’t take the decision because you’re a little bit rusty and you don’t want to take the wrong decision. But then you think not taking a decision is the right one and it isn’t.”

Strategy, though, is by no means Haas’ only problem – or even their biggest.

The team have been let down a few times by their Ferrari power unit, the latest issue costing Mick Schumacher a possible first points-scoring finish at the Canadian Grand Prix.

He was running P7 when his power unit failed.

“On reliability, Ferrari are working on it,” Steiner said. “I mean, they are not happy with what happened to us and obviously they are in the same boat. They have the same engine, same MGU-K and it could happen to any of us.

“I’m sure the driver [Magnussen] knows when Hamilton is around – don’t go near him anymore because he can take something away.

“There’s always something going against us. Everybody sees us, we should have 10-15 points more and we don’t.

“Should and would doesn’t take you anywhere. But the only thing you can do is keep the spirit up and everybody is upbeat, because qualifying fifth and sixth for us [in Canada] was a good day and it was done very good.”