Haas fear their recent upgrades will be of little use at Spa or Monza

Jon Wilde
Kevin Magnussen driving the upgraded Haas VF-22. Hungary, July 2022.

Kevin Magnussen driving the upgraded Haas VF-22 at the Hungaroring. Hungary, July 2022.

Haas have high hopes for the upgrades they rolled out in Hungary – but do not expect them to help at Spa or Monza.

The major developments for the VF-22 that Haas have worked on this season were saved up for one big hit at the Hungaroring, and even there they were only fitted to Kevin Magnussen’s car.

That was because resources had been put under strain by Mick Schumacher’s crashes in the opening third of the season, which meant the German has had to wait until after the summer break to have his car updated.

But it will be even longer still before the 23-year-old truly feels the benefit of them because the improvements to the car are, according to team principal Guenther Steiner, not suited to two of the next three grands prix – in Belgium and Italy, with the Dutch GP in between.

“On normal tracks it will certainly work better,” said Steiner, quoted by Motorsport-Magazin.com. “So don’t judge the upgrade by our performances at Spa and Monza.”

The reason is that the Belgian and Italian Grand Prix venues are high-speed circuits and the Haas continues to suffer from too much drag.

It is a problem the team are working on for the 2023 car but it was put on the backburner for this season because after Monza, it will not matter so much due to the layout of the remaining tracks on the calendar.

“We were able to bring a few small upgrades for the high-speed tracks but they don’t make the car 5-7kph faster,” added Steiner.

“We have to bring some developments at this point for next year because it’s too late now.

“We couldn’t prepare it for Spa or Monza and it doesn’t make sense for the races after that because you don’t need that kind of set-up then.”

Guenther Steiner speaking into a microphone. Baku, June 2022.
Haas' Guenther Steiner speaks into a microphone in the media pen. Baku, June 2022.

What effect are the Haas upgrades expected to have?

Firstly, it should be pointed out that Haas were not in desperate need of a faster car – especially given the way their 2021 campaign panned out.

The American team wrote off that season – failing to score a point – to focus on 2022 and the entirely new car each constructor had to design for the new F1 regulations.

They did that very effectively, for they have bagged 34 points and sit seventh in the Constructors’ Championship. The fact the hugely ambitious Aston Martin team are 14 points behind them is a feather in Haas’ cap.

Of course, to stand still in F1 is to go backwards and so Haas needed to improve their car – which they did with seven modifications in Hungary – if they are to remain competitive with their direct rivals, all of whom will still be developing this year’s challenger even if focus is increasingly turning to next year.

From what Steiner says, the Dutch Grand Prix will be their best chance in the near future to keep that points total ticking over, while other suitable opportunities, based on track design, should come in Singapore and Brazil.