Steiner surprised Haas reduced gap to F1 midfield late in 2021

Gunther Steiner found it “very odd” that Haas managed to reduce the gap to the midfield Formula 1 teams in the closing stages of the 2021 season.

Steiner surprised Haas reduced gap to F1 midfield late in 2021

Haas opted against developing its car for last year so it could focus on preparing for the new technical regulations arriving in 2022, believing they held a greater opportunity to make a step forward and gain performance.

It resigned the team to a transition year in 2021 where it failed to score any points with rookie drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, leaving it last in the constructors’ championship.

But the final three races of the season saw Haas get close to lower midfield rivals Alfa Romeo and Williams in terms of outright pace. Schumacher qualified within two-tenths of a second of an Alfa Romeo car in both Qatar and Abu Dhabi, and was even less than a tenth off Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in qualifying for the Saudi Arabia race.

Haas F1 boss Steiner stressed the importance of keeping the team motivated despite its competitive position, but admitted he was surprised by the late-season gains on the rest of the midfield.

“What you have to watch is that people don’t get complacent, get used to it and don’t do their best any more,” Steiner told Autosport.

“[You have to] tell them that ‘you guys have not gone stupid or bad, it will get better, it’s just our car is not developed’. It’s too simple the answer: if there is one year you don’t do anything, this is where you end up.

“Then again, in the last two races, I could not believe we were only a tenth or two away from the end of the midfield. I don’t get it with a car that’s almost two years old.”

Asked if the gains were in part down to the growing experience of his drivers, Steiner still felt the other teams should have created a bigger gap to Haas by developing in 2021.

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1, Mick Schumacher, Haas F1, Nikita Mazepin, Haas F1

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1, Mick Schumacher, Haas F1, Nikita Mazepin, Haas F1

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“The other ones should have made the gap bigger, they developed their cars,” Steiner said.

“The last two races were very odd to me. In Saudi Arabia, where the lap is very long, we were only one and a half tenths behind. And we fought in the race with one of the Williams. Maybe they were going slower?

Read Also:

“As soon as you can fight for something, it’s a different scenario, a different vibe, a different way of living.”

Schumacher was able to fight with Williams driver Nicholas Latifi throughout the Abu Dhabi season finale, keeping him behind for 22 laps before Latifi crashed and sparked a late safety car.

Schumacher said the late-season progress was “possibly” a result of his growing experience, but also thought the team had found new ways to set-up the VF-21 car.

"We as a team also have just found a different way of approaching weekends, and approaching set-ups,” Schumacher told Autosport.

“I think we’ve really just found what we want from the car. Is it entry stability, is it oversteer, that was just something that showed over the last few weeks. I think we perfected that a bit.”

shares
comments

Related video

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam
Previous article

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

Next article

The best F1 driver superteams: Senna, Prost, Hamilton, Alonso and more

The best F1 driver superteams: Senna, Prost, Hamilton, Alonso and more
The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline Plus

The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline

In the hands of Ayrton Senna the actively suspended 99T would be the last F1 race-winning Lotus but, as STUART CODLING reveals, it was a complicated machine that caused more problems than it solved

How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1 Plus

How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1

Formula 1’s transformation into a global sport meant the gradual extinction for a small team determined to stay true to its low-budget roots. But Tyrrell would eventually be reborn as a world-beating outfit again, explains MAURICE HAMILTON, albeit in different colours…

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver Plus

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Many doubted Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2013 Formula 1 season. But the journey he’s been on since has taken the Briton to new heights - and to a further six world championship titles

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Plus

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

OPINION: With teams outside the top three having struggled in Formula 1 in recent seasons, the rules changes introduced in 2022 should have more of an impact this season. How well Haas does, as the poster child for the kind of team that F1 wanted to be able to challenge at the front, is crucial

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

Formula 1
Feb 1, 2023
The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023