F1 team accused of ‘flying blind’ has ‘little hope’ ahead of F1 2024

Michelle Foster
The start of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. results penalty points

Max Verstappen leads the field away at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Ending the year with a wretched Grand Prix in what has been a long list of poor races, Timo Glock says Haas are “flying blind” and are on the “wrong path” with the development.

Off the pace and not seeing a way to improve the VF-23, Haas opted not to develop the car and instead put a B-spec version on the track at the United States Grand Prix.

The new car not only didn’t resolve many of the VF-23’s existing issues, it even created more as it quashed the straight-line speed.

Haas have ‘little hope for next year’ says Timo Glock

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Such were the issues, Nico Hulkenberg returned to old spec car for the final two races of the season while Kevin Magnussen stuck with the upgrade.

He finished 20th at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, although Hulkenberg wasn’t much better in 15th place.

Glock says this doesn’t bode well for their 2024 season.

“The worst case scenario at Haas is that the new car with the upgrade is slower than the old car that Nico Hulkenberg had in this race,” the former F1 driver told Sky Deutschland.

“That shows that the entire team is on that is the wrong path.

“That gives little hope for next year and makes it difficult to understand why we saw such good data in the wind tunnel. As a team, you are flying blind.

“The question is what is Guenther Steiner’s idea to get out again. It will be a mammoth task in the first six months.”

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Nico Hulkenberg: The pace just wasn’t there

Although Hulkenberg lined up on the Yas Marina grid in eighth place, the driver was P14 at the end of the opening lap as a poor start meant he was swallowed up by the chasing pack.

He, though, reckons that’s about where the pace of the car deserved to be.

“I got a poor start and really bad dynamic afterwards, It was just so on the back foot,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.

“That pretty much put us immediately in a position where we belong in terms of car pace. So actually it didn’t really hurt in a way.

“And then afterwards, it was a clean race. I was able to push but the pace just wasn’t there.”

Haas couldn’t even blame their long-suffering tyre degradation issues, the driver saying: “It didn’t feel feel terrible. Just a bit too slow.”

The 36-year-old, who scored just nine points in his first season back on the grid with Haas bottom of the log, has warned the team they have to “do better” next season.

“I don’t think there’s a huge difference between them, minor differences,” he said of the old spec car versus the upgrade.

“Last weekend, I felt actually the new package had an edge over the old package on a low downforce configuration. This weekend, I felt quite okay. I mean, both are similar.

“But you know, that’s in itself, obviously not good enough. An update is supposed to be better, and fix some of your issues. And unfortunately, that didn’t happen. So, yeah, we need to try and do better there next year.”

He added: “The last or the second half of the season has been been been really tough. I think there was only an opportunity to score a point or two for me in Singapore, which we missed by by the wrong strategy call.

“Apart from that we just never had the pace to do it. Even when there was a lot of cars dropping out we were just too far away from it. So of course that’s not great and that’s why we need to do better.”

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