With the likes of Sauber getting involved in regular point-scoring battles, Guenther Steiner says F1 no longer has a genuine midfield: there’s the top-three and then the rest.
This year’s championship has once again seen Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull in a race of their own while Renault, Haas, Force India, McLaren, Toro Rosso and even Sauber are squabbling over the remaining points.
Renault are leading the tussle on 70 points while Sauber in ninth have 16.
“After [pre-season] testing, we were cautiously optimistic that could be achieved, but it’s still a difficult task as all the other teams in Formula One are very good teams – there is nobody who is uncompetitive,” Steiner said.
“There is not really a midfield anymore. It’s just the rest. There’s the top-three and then the rest.
“Everybody from fourth to 10th can be competing for points this year, as we’ve all seen. Now, being fifth, it’s nice to be there.
“After testing it was realistic to think we could be there, but we were very conscious that it would be hard work, and it is hard work, actually.”
At the end of it all the position that Haas are aiming for is fourth.
The team has bagged 51 points having squandered opportunities through crashes and bungled pit stops.
Steiner, Haas’ team boss, added: “I think with the potential of the car we have shown over the last three races, it is possible to aim for fourth.
“If we achieve it or not, that’s a different question. I don’t want to be arrogant and say we will finish fourth, because by no means is it a given.
“We are competing with three very strong teams for this position. We will try, we will give it our best and, hopefully, we end up fourth.”