Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg was brutally honest in his post-race interview in Italy, criticising the team’s lack of development. A failure to introduce a circuit-specific rear wing frustrated the German, who argued Haas didn’t “deserve” points in Monza. However, teammate Kevin Magnussen seems far more optimistic.
Magnussen has spent most of his F1 career with the American squad, first putting pen to paper with Guenther Steiner in 2017. The Dane competed during the team’s best season in 2018 when they secured a highly impressive P5 in the standings.
However, with the likes of McLaren and Aston Martin taking steps forward, Steiner’s team have fallen behind.
A lack of investment from Gene Haas doesn’t seem likely to change – despite the clear limitations of their current model.
Relying on Ferrari for parts and development tools is an unambitious and ineffective strategy, evidenced most recently in Zandvoort – when Haas only brought one spare (upgraded) front wing.
An inability to physically produce upgrades is a clear weakness, though Kevin Magnussen insists there are reasons to be optimistic:
“The balance on the car just wasn’t right because we couldn’t make the front wing flat enough. And that really punished us,” he explained, per motorsport-total.
“We thought about driving with the first hard tire until the end and then maybe hoping for a late safety car, or do it like (Alex) Albon did in Melbourne, like that to try something. But no chance.
“The work takes place in the background, and we just have to be patient until we can get the parts into the car…
“I still believe that the team is in a stronger position than ever before. It’s just paradoxical that we probably have one of the weakest cars we’ve ever had.”
Competing in F1 is a difficult process, but attempting to compete with a shoestring budget is a near-impossible task.
A shortage of personnel is another issue which, combined with other areas, puts the odds against Haas.
Kevin Magnussen might see the situation in a positive light, but the less complimentary comments made by teammate Nico Hulkenberg seem more reflective of the team’s predicament.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang