Dealing with a tyre-eating VF-22, Guenther Steiner says while Haas need to examine if their issue is linked to Ferrari’s, he doesn’t believe they are the “same problem”.
This season, despite putting a quick VF-22 on the track in the early rounds with the car showing its pace in qualifying, Haas have struggled to score points as they’ve lost ground during the grands prix.
This was highlighted at the Canadian Grand Prix where Nico Hulkenberg qualified P2, lined up fifth due to a red flag infringement penalty, and crossed the line a disappointing 15th where he was one lap down on race winner Max Verstappen.
Haas tyre problems inherited from Ferrari?
Blighting the first half of Haas’ season, the German driver accepted after the Belgian Grand Prix that the tyre issue won’t be a quick fix for Haas, saying: “Fixing it and bringing loads of performance, it doesn’t just lay on the street, it’s a bit more complex.
“I think we can still improve the situation this year. To what extent, that’s TBC, it’s down to us, and we have to prove it. But yeah, it’s a longer-term thing.”
A thing Haas are working hard at with Steiner revealing they’re still flat-out on this year’s car in an attempt to resolve the issue before they carry it over into 2024’s car.
“I think we need to fix this one before. We can go parallel to 2024 but we cannot ignore this one now and just go for ’24,” he told Motorsport.com.
“If you don’t understand it then it could be in the ’24 car again, that would be pretty stupid. We are working now on the ’23 car flat-out to make it better.”
It’s an issue that Haas’ engine supplier Ferrari are also working on, last year’s car as well as this year’s SF-21 suffering similar issues.
But although Steiner says they are “not the same problem”, he concedes there could be some overlap given Haas also run the Scuderia’s suspension and rear crash structure.
“It’s very weird,” said the team boss. “With them, you can see it a lot less because they run higher, but if they hadn’t had it, would they win races maybe? But that’s not for me to talk about, that’s for Fred to talk about.
“If you see the Ferrari, it’s not the same problem. And the point is that doesn’t make our problem better. Somebody else having a bad day and me having a bad day doesn’t make my day better. I’m still having a bad day, you know?
“But obviously, it needs to be looked at as well and we do. It’s not like we’re sitting here and doing nothing, but there could be an issue in the specifics there.”
Steiner acknowledges the problem has cost Haas dearly in the standings with the team having scored just 11 points with Hulkenberg failing on five occasions to turn a top-ten grid slot into a points’ finish.
“Absolutely, if we would have sorted our stuff out [we could have been way higher up],” said Steiner. “But the only thing you can do with things like these is to keep your head down and keep working.
“[McLaren] made good steps forward, fair play to them, they did a good job. But the good thing on that one is that it is possible. Just knowing that it is possible is a motivation.”