Haas not worried about Ferrari engine reliability, ‘nothing to do with us’

Michelle Foster
Kevin Magnussen in the Haas with the team logo showing. Bahrain March 2023

Danish driver Kevin Magnussen in the Haas with the team logo showing. Bahrain March 2023

Guenther Steiner says whatever led to Charles Leclerc’s Bahrain retirement is not a concern for Haas with Ferrari telling their customers they “should not worry”.

As the Formula 1 drivers line up on the grid for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Leclerc will do so 10 places behind his qualifying position as he has an engine penalty for taking a third Control Electronics. Only the first two are penalty-free.

And it’s only round two of the championship.

Ferrari changed the Monégasque driver’s Control Electronics and Energy Store on the Sunday morning in Bahrain after seeing an anomaly in the data only for the driver to retire on lap 41 when his SF-23 shut down.

Leclerc reckons this could be just the start of his penalties as he doesn’t think Ferrari can salvage his first two CEs.

“We had two control unit problems in Bahrain which means that we already need to take a penalty,” he told Sky Sports F1. “We understand these problems but as a result, I obviously need to take the penalty.

“I don’t think they are reusable. We don’t have confirmation yet, but I don’t think so.”

This is a concern for Ferrari’s engine customers, Haas and Alfa Romeo, as the two teams had their share of Ferrari engine issues last season.

Steiner, though, says he’s been told by Ferrari not to worry as it has “nothing to do” with Haas.

“They have a problem, but it has nothing to do with us,” he told Ekstra Bladet.

“I don’t know exactly what, because they don’t tell me, and I don’t ask them.

“But they have said that we should not worry so no, we won’t change anything.”

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Looking ahead to round two of the championship, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the team boss is hoping Haas can put their first points on the board.

Although the returning Nico Hulkenberg lined up P10 in Bahrain, he slumped to 15th place while Kevin Magnussen was P13.

“Jeddah is a little bit different in terms of layout compared to Bahrain but everything that we learned in Bahrain will help us set-up the car better for Saudi Arabia,” said Steiner.

“Hopefully we get it in a good window and then we can extract the full potential of the VF-23, resulting in points.”

Magnussen reckons lessons were learned in Bahrain that will help the team at the Jeddah circuit.

“The positive thing we took with us from Bahrain was that we were actually reasonably competitive and could fight for the top ten,” said the Dane.

“We are looking forward to whether we can challenge a little more here. The surface is not as hard on the rear tyres as in Bahrain, which might help us.”

The first step will be to avoid a crash such as the one his former team-mate Mick Schumacher suffered in qualifying last season, the German out of the race as a result.

“I think that the cars have become a little trickier with some of the changes on the bottom,” said Magnussen. “They are a little more sensitive in some areas, for example wind.

“There are some weaknesses that we are working on, but I definitely think that it has some potential.