Haas need to make a “huge improvement” ahead of next year’s championship if they want a chance of keeping pace with McLaren and Renault, says chief race engineer Ayao Komatsu.
Although Haas were running inside the top five in the Constructors’ Championship in the early part of this season, progress by the likes of McLaren and Toro Rosso meant they have fallen down the order.
With 29 points in hand, 21 ahead of Renault, and just two races remaining this season, Haas look set to finish their first campaign in eighth place.
However, improving on P8, or even holding onto it, may be a difficult task next season.
“If you look at top three teams, they’re gone,” Komatsu told Motorsport.com. “Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, they’re gone. Then you got Force India, Williams, then you got McLaren, Toro Rosso, and then us.
“In terms of points we are behind Toro Rosso and McLaren, but in terms of competitiveness I think we’ve been quite close together. So it’s very close to be able to be P6, but with various things we are lacking or need improving as a new team, we are P8.
“But next year even trying to stay where we are is a huge challenge. Obviously McLaren-Honda, they’re going to have a huge improvement. They are a full works team. Honda engines are going to improve as well. I’m sure McLaren will do a good job.
“Toro Rosso, their aerodynamics is pretty good and they’re going to have a Renault engine next year. I’m sure Renault’s engine is going to be much better next year.
“Then we’re going to have the Renault works team, who are behind us at the moment in P9. But their improvements will be massive. So even to keep P8, we need to make a huge improvement.
“I don’t think I can sit here and say I’m confident about next year. I think we need to be humble. But we really need to understand the challenge for next year, even to stay where we are, is huge. Because we are not a works team.”