Steiner ‘cautiously optimistic’ of Haas midfield return

Date published: December 20 2021 - Jon Wilde

Mick Schumacher ahead of Yuki Tsunoda during the Spanish GP. Barcelona May 2021.

Guenther Steiner is hopeful Haas will be able to leapfrog Williams and Alfa Romeo and re-engage with the Formula 1 midfield next season.

Haas have slid down the pack to become the sport’s backmarkers, at least partly because they opted not to develop their car during the 2021 season in order to focus on producing a competitive challenger for the new regulations in 2022.

Rarely in the campaign just ended were they able to outpace another team, with rookie drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin continually propping up all their rivals at the bottom of the timesheets – and they ended the campaign with zero points.

However, Steiner, the team principal, does not expect that to be an ongoing situation and rather than targeting eighth or nine position in the Constructors’ Championship next year, he is looking further up towards the fifth place Haas achieved in their best campaign so far, 2018.

Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi racing. Qatar November 2021

Asked in a social media video uploaded by the team for his performance expectations compared to Williams and Alfa Romeo in 2022, Steiner responded: “I wouldn’t say against Alfa and Williams.

“I’m cautiously optimistic we will be back in the midfield, because the guys who develop the car do a great job and I can see similarities to the years before when we were running in the midfield.

“Hopefully we will be running in front of Williams and Alfa.”

Steiner was also asked what he had told the drivers to keep them motivated, but indicated it was more the rest of the Haas staff that needed an arm around the shoulder with only three points collected within the last two seasons.

That has led to a number of people leaving the team and the introduction of a loyalty bonus designed to prevent an exodus.

 

“At the moment, it’s not difficult for the drivers to keep them motivated,” said Steiner.

“It was their first season in F1 and just to come into F1 you’ve got so much to learn, so I think they are actually grateful they don’t have to fight for points and they don’t get harassed by Guenther to get these points!

“They are motivated – it’s more like I need to keep the rest of the team motivated, and it was good.

“We always do our best. I always tell the guys ‘you did a great job a few years ago, we are now in the circumstances that with the car we’ve got we cannot do better, but you are still good guys, good people, you haven’t gone stupid in the last two years – just keep pushing until we’ve got a better car for 2022’.”