Haas: "Seventh or eighth" in F1 standings most we can hope for right now

Haas Formula 1 chief Gunther Steiner believes "seventh or eighth" is the most the team can aim for in this year's constructors' championship

Haas: "Seventh or eighth" in F1 standings most we can hope for right now

After finishing an impressive fifth in 2018, Haas slumped to ninth in last year's championship as drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen spent the year blighted by issues with the VF-19 car.

While the team is confident it has resolved these issues and made a step forward for 2020, it ran towards the back of the midfield in last weekend's season-opener in Austria.

Magnussen and Grosjean only outqualified the Alfa Romeo and Williams cars, and both retired from the race due to brake problems.

The leading midfield runners of McLaren, Racing Point and Renault all appeared to show good progress in the opening race, recording decent points finishes.

Asked what a realistic target would be for Haas in the constructors' championship this season, team boss Steiner was honest about where it lay in the pecking order.

"Eighth. Anything better than eighth," he said.

"For sure we'll do work. Some of the circuits will be different and will be better for us without the long straights, and so many DRS zones.

"At the moment, seventh or eighth, that's the most we could aim for."

Haas owner Gene Haas has been honest in his desire for the team to be competitive in F1 in the past, and is yet to commit to staying on the grid beyondthe end of the year.

Steiner said he was "sure" Haas would be content with seeing his team finish P7 in the standings this year, and pointed to the positives that could be taken from the first Red Bull Ring race weekend.

"The good thing we saw on last Sunday's weekend race is we put ourselves in a position to race," Steiner said.

"Kevin did a good position racing the cars around him, which is an improvement from last year.

"It was our weak spot, but we struggled a little bit more in qualifying this year, it looked like."

Haas has confirmed it will try a new aerodynamic package on the car this weekend in a bid to ease the brake cooling issues Grosjean and Magnussen encountered last Sunday.

"We have a package which cools better, but obviously it comes with aerodynamic losses. We will put that one on," Steiner said.

"How confident I am? As much as I can be at this moment in time.

"We have done some work and CFD over this week to try and figure it out, to get confidence, a lot of work and we are still doing work at the moment, trying to get away with as little downforce loss to it.

"I think we can get around the problem. It's just how much performance we are losing aerodynamically at the moment. We should be able to cool better."

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