Haas team principal Guenther Steiner admits the target for this season has to be fourth place in the constructors’ championship given the pace of the VF-18.
Pre-season testing showed Haas to have a quick car but the team was keen to analyze its pace on different circuits, having struggled for consistency in 2017. Although a big haul of points was lost in Australia, Kevin Magnussen finished fifth in Bahrain and then scored a sixth place in Barcelona to move the team up to sixth overall, 22 points adrift of fourth.
Asked if the target is now fourth place ahead of Renault and McLaren, Steiner replied: “Absolutely.
“We need to. Why would I target any less? We showed in the past that we can be fourth, so if I said ‘We can be fourth but I want to be sixth,’ people would tell me my maths have gone wrong. We’ve shown we can be the fourth-fastest team so that’s what we need to aim for and that’s what we need to work for.”
All 19 of Haas’ points have been scored by Kevin Magnussen, with Romain Grosjean losing out in Melbourne and then crashing out of the points behind the Safety Car in Azerbaijan. Despite the Frenchman having not scored since last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, Steiner is confident Grosjean will turn his form around.
“Sometimes in your career, and in any sporting career, you have downs. Romain is a good driver and he will get back where he belongs. He’s now got Monte Carlo coming up, where he’s always fast, and I’m sure he cannot wait to get there to prove the naysayers wrong.
“If something goes wrong, you come back stronger. That’s the only thing you can do. We’re not even a quarter of the way through the season, so we don’t need to panic. With a car like this, he just needs to say, ‘I will have a flawless weekend and I will be fine.’ A professional can do that, and he’s a professional.”
Asked if there is any added frustration with only one driver scoring points at the moment — something Haas moved to avoid by replacing Esteban Gutierrez with Magnussen in 2017 — Steiner added: “No, actually it’s a good thing, at least I’ve got one that delivers!
“It’s not a frustration. It’s one of those things that one delivers and one doesn’t. He’s just in this run, and I didn’t realize that he hasn’t scored in nine races but it will turn around in my opinion.
“He can deliver, he showed that in year one and year two, he didn’t forget to drive. Obviously it’s not something I’m happy about, but it’s not like I get all bummed out.”