Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has challenged his team to keep up with the likes of Renault and McLaren in the development race this season.
Having only entered Formula 1 for the first time in 2016, Haas opted to do limited development on last year’s car in order to produce a more competitive package this season. The early signs are positive with the team showing impressive pace during preseason testing, and Steiner admitted a challenge for fourth place is not out of the question.
Last year saw Haas tail off in terms of competitiveness as it didn’t significantly upgrade its car. But Steiner says that won’t be the case this season.
“There’s a good plan in place to develop more because the evolutions get smaller each year, so there’s no point stopping and trying to reinvent the wheel,” Steiner said. “Whatever we develop now we will bring into next year as well. So we will work more consistently on this year’s car and not step over to next year’s one.”
Asked if the decision to focus on the 2018 car was made out of necessity while the team expanded or if they couldn’t develop its car effectively in-season last year, Steiner replied: “We could have done some of it.
“It is somewhere in between, not all of it. Last year in the beginning we were a little bit weak on personnel still. Now we have a good aero team to develop aerodynamically, so we can obviously do it better this year than last year. Could we have done it? Well, in the end, however you do it you can be proven wrong. We decided to do it this way and at the moment I’m happy with it.”
As a result, Steiner says Haas has to target getting the better of the likes of Renault and McLaren throughout the year rather than just taking advantage of any early-season issues.
“Our aim is to do it the whole year, it’s not the beginning of the year, because I think now we can almost keep up with them in terms of development. That’s the aim. We need to. If we want to progress we need to keep up with the developments we are doing, so yes we are looking at [Renault and McLaren] but I think we are very close. The last two tenths, to estimate them is very difficult. Normally Australia will tell us.”