Ralf Schumacher offers rare praise to Haas despite ‘not good enough’ car

Jamie Woodhouse
Kevin Magnussen up close in the Haas. Miami May 2023

Kevin Magnussen up close in the Haas. Miami May 2023

Within the Haas criticism, Ralf Schumacher has also offered some praise by applauding the job Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg are doing in struggling machinery.

Haas certainly made a flying start to the new era of ground effect aerodynamics, emerging in 2022 as a leader of the midfield pack.

The team ultimately struggled to repeat that form with consistency as the season went on and rivals like Alpine and McLaren made moves up the order, and F1 2023 has not got off to the greatest of starts with only eight points on the board so far.

Nonetheless, Hulkenberg, who was brought in to replace Ralf’s nephew Mick Schumacher for F1 2023, recently notched up a further brownie point for the driver performance at Haas, the German racer making it through to Q3 at the Spanish Grand Prix and claiming P7 on the grid.

The team struggled though come race day, Hulkenberg finishing P15 and Magnussen P18, with Schumacher critical of the machinery which Haas are providing their drivers with, calling on them to pull their finger out and find ways to make progress.

The six-time race winner though is full of praise for the job that both drivers are doing in the circumstances, which considering Schumacher’s repeat clashes with Haas team boss Guenther Steiner, marks a rare bit of Haas-related praise.

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“From the German point of view, Barcelona showed that the Haas is simply not good enough at the moment,” Schumacher wrote in his Sky Germany column.

“The concept they developed was great, but apparently they are not in a position to develop it further.

“Something has to happen. New ways have to be found, maybe new people have to be found in the development department, because things are not really moving forward. However, Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen are doing a good job.

“Nico is even more consistent and got the full potential out of the car in qualifying in Barcelona. In the race they have too much tyre wear, but also too little downforce. Haas is always quite good on the high-speed tracks, also in terms of top speed. That means the car has little drag, but unfortunately obviously little downforce.

“The track in Canada can suit Haas and the car also works well in mixed conditions. Haas is a small team with small options. But I had hoped that things would go uphill even faster now after last year.”

With seven rounds of the F1 2023 campaign completed, Haas sit P7 in the Constructors’ Championship with eight points, tied with Alfa Romeo a position behind.