Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says his team can only blame itself for not finishing fourth in the constructors’ championship this season.
A strong pre-season gave way to an encouraging race performance in Australia where both Haas cars retired from the top five, costing the team a likely 22 points. With disqualifications from the top ten in both Italy and the United States, Haas left plenty of points on the table as it ended up fifth behind Renault, and Steiner admits its own errors proved costly in maximizing its potential.
“I think it was our own fault that we didn’t finish fourth,” Steiner said. “But it’s our own fault because it’s also part of the learning we are in as a team. You never have to forget that we are only now in our third season and to finish fifth is great. To finish first of the privateers I would call it, because the guys in front are all works teams except maybe Red Bull, but it works like a works team — Red Bull is not a private team, it’s a very well-funded and well-established team.
“For sure there is this feeling of ‘we could have been fourth’ but could and would doesn’t do anything for you, so I’ve decided to be happy about fifth.”
Placing the majority of the missed opportunities down to experience, Steiner believes Haas would be able to secure fourth if the 2018 season was re-run.
“I would think so, but for me it’s important if you make a mistake once — I’m not saying it’s OK but the important thing is you don’t make the mistake a second time. That is when you call it learning. Like in the pit stops, we had this disaster in Australia, but we didn’t have one afterwards. We were very thorough, we were in a good place, we just needed to make sure that we stay in the good place.
“The pit stops after Australia, for sure they were slower than they should be but that was the right thing to do until we got our confidence back and our processes back. We acted rightly, and nobody was there just blaming somebody, we said: ‘OK, we have to do better than this,’ and we did.
“This is just one of the things we got better at this year, there are a lot of other things that you don’t see from the outside but this is very visible. But there is a lot of stuff.”