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Haas to run back-to-back F1 upgrade test at Imola

Haas will run back-to-back comparative tests in free practice at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to confirm the quality of its latest Formula 1 car upgrades.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24, makes a pit stop

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Haas introduced its first major upgrade of the season at the Chinese Grand Prix, the VF-24 being equipped with updated floor fences, mirrors, cooling outlets and rear brake duct inlets.

Both drivers were competitive at Shanghai with the new parts, as Kevin Magnussen finished 10th in the sprint while Nico Hulkenberg reached Q3 and scored a point in the main race, from ninth on the grid.

However, the sprint format prevented Haas from running meaningful comparative tests in China, which will reoccur at Miami.

The American team will therefore wait until Imola to thoroughly compare the data from its car's new and previous versions during a regular weekend, making the most of the practice sessions.

"Wind tunnel numbers are not everything, you know," team principal Ayao Komatsu said on Thursday at the Chinese Grand Prix. "How the actual car delivers compared against wind tunnel…

"What we measure on the track this year is a bit different from our expectation from the wind tunnel as well. So we need to understand that properly."

The Japanese expanded on the matter following Haas' successful weekend, explaining to Autosport: "I don't sit here and say 'upgrade worked perfectly' or '100%, I'm convinced'. I'm not saying that.

"But because it's a sprint weekend, we cannot do a proper back-to-back or anything, but we can measure in FP1. Not a comparison, just to see if there's anything blatantly wrong or not. And we don't see it. So we think it's working. But I'm not saying that by 100%.

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team, on the grid

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team, Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team, on the grid

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

"But until it's proven that it's not working, I got to trust the process. So that's why we decided to bring updates here today on both cars. Because the competition is just so tight. If we don't trust our process, what's the point? So that's what we did. Then yes, so far, I don't see anything worrying.

"But when we go to Imola with the normal weekend, we'll do proper back-to-back. Just assess, you know, if what we've done is all correct or not."

The Miami Grand Prix will mark Haas' first home event of the season this coming weekend, with some more new parts on the VF-24. However, Komatsu expects a "very small" performance gain from them.

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"We're bringing [the package] in three phases. This [in China] was, I would say, a small step. But Miami will be even smaller, then Imola will be another smaller step. So, it's just incremental.

"If you got a tenth, you know how much that changes the qualifying position... And then one qualifying position could mean whether you're going to spend your first stint in traffic or free air, right? Then that will have a huge effect. So even though it seems – when I say – like a small difference in terms of lap time, the result could be massive."

If the comparative tests at Imola aren't successful, Komatsu is confident Haas would still make the most of the data to turn the situation around by the summer break.

"Hopefully in Imola, we can prove that what we've been doing is right," he added. "But worst case, if we prove that what we've been doing is not right, we've still got the chance to rectify it for the mid-season," he concluded.

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