Steiner on Haas: “At some stage we want to be winning races”

Jaden Diaz
16 May, 2023

Guenther Steiner has overseen a strong start to the year for Haas, although his long-term objectives for the team are far beyond the VF-23’s current capabilities.

The American outfit sits 7th in the standings, addressing the early concerns related to tyre degradation and consistently challenging for the top 10 positions on Saturday and Sunday.

Points in Saudi Arabia, Australia and Miami confirm that Haas is competitive in various circuits and conditions. The next test is whether this can be sustained.

Kevin Magnussen’s electric comeback last season, consisting of a 5th-place finish in Bahrain, eventually dissipated as the year progressed.

Consistent with trends from previous seasons, the American squad slowly lost touch with its rivals in mid-season development.

Budgetary issues were largely cited as the root cause, with the arrival of MoneyGram as title sponsors helping to alleviate Haas’ financial vulnerability heading into 2023.

Speaking ahead of the Imola GP, Guenther Steiner has re-asserted the team’s intentions to introduce updates progressively this year:

“The upgrade which we brought to the race track is working. So well done to the whole team to get this developed, produced and put it in action for Miami.

“We’ve got more coming this year; we said we’re bringing little steps, we’re not bringing one big upgrade package.

“We’re bringing something new to Imola, and when we find something in development, we will bring it to the track.”

These are encouraging statements for Haas as the team tentatively enters a period of relative stability, which, frankly speaking, has eluded them for decades.

A disastrous sponsorship agreement with Rich Energy and a messy saga with Nikita Mazepin and Uralkali (combined with underwhelming on-track performance) brought an end to the gritty resilience that characterised the team from 2016-19.

Such difficulties only heighten the importance of Haas’ stable start to 2023, offering the team a chance to establish the foundations to remain competitive for the foreseeable future.

MiamiGP, USA - Haas VF-23, Kevin Magnussen & Ferrari SF-23, Charles Leclerc.

However, turning towards more opportunistic rhetoric, Guenther Steiner discussed his team’s short and long-term perspectives:

“The present objective this year is to move up in the Constructors’ Championship from last year.

“Getting better every year – it’s as simple as this – and at some stage, we want to be winning races.

“I don’t know how far away it is, and I’m not going to say it’s this season or next season, but at some stage, it will happen with Haas.”

These quotes from Steiner are undoubtedly idealistic, to such a degree that most would entirely dismiss these comments.

After all, no F1 team would say they are not aiming for Championship – irrespective of how attainable this goal is for the said team.

For a team that is yet to step on the F1 podium (although Nico Hulkenberg was agonisingly close in Australia), fighting for a World title in the foreseeable is obviously out of the question.

However, for the sake of not wholly dismissing Steiner’s optimism, it will be intriguing to observe how many teams – if any – can follow Aston Martin’s footsteps and climb the field.

Alpine and McLaren are widely seen as the best-placed teams to escape the midfield.

Still, it remains to be seen how effectively the budget cap and wind tunnel restrictions can give opportunities throughout the grid.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang