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Steiner: Revised Haas F1 car not good enough yet after COTA upgrades

Guenther Steiner admits that the revised Haas Formula 1 car is still not good enough and the team will have to extract more from it in the Mexican Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Haas brought a huge package of upgrades to Austin, and like others who faced the challenge of only having FP1 in which to hone updated cars, the team struggled to optimise the VF-23.

Following the Saturday sprint the team took the decision to take both cars out of parc ferme and switch to a higher downforce rear wing, in essence to stop the rear sliding and protect the tyres.

That meant that Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg had to abandon their respective 14th and 16th slots on the grid and start Sunday’s main race from the pit lane.

Hulkenberg finished 13th on the road and Magnussen 16th, with both drivers gaining spots in the final results from the disqualifications of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

However, the five points scored during the weekend by AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda meant Haas's advantage in the constructors' championship was reduced to two points.

Steiner insisted that changing the cars and sacrificing track position at the start was a good call.

“I mean, today was better than yesterday,” he told Autosport after the flag. “Thank God we made the decision to go out of the pit lane with the changed aero set-up.

“Obviously, we now need to look at data and stuff like this to have a better starting position in Mexico with the set-up.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team and Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team and Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“We were a little bit behind, knowing that we only had one hour. It's not like saying that we did a bad job, it was just very tight, such a big upgrade, and going in here.

“But we knew the risk, and we took the race, but I think we know for sure a lot more now than we did before. And hopefully we can put it into performance in Mexico.”

Steiner said that it’s hard to assess the potential of the new package after just one weekend.

“I don't know how good it is yet,” he said. “At least both drivers could race some people today, because the last five [races] we were just being overtaken, and at least we could overtake some people today.

“Are we good enough? No. We need to get more out of it. At least we're moving in the right direction.”

Magnussen agreed that changing the rear wing had paid off, although during the race he still complained about the rear sliding.

“I think it helped,” the Dane replied when asked by Autosport about the upgrades, before adding: “Not enough.

“We still weren't competitive enough, of course, but it helped. And, yeah, we'll look into things and see what we think.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“As I said, we helped the problem. I think we had a better race than we would have if we hadn't changed. Even though we were P14, starting from the pitlane I still think we had a better race.”

Regarding the update package, he said: “I'm still curious to see how it evolves when we get to play with the set-up a little more and optimise things better.

“We still go to different types of tracks. And we know that things can be up and down.

“And things can be different at the next race. Mexico is a very unique race as well, with the ambient pressure and all that.”

 

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