Haas was close to Ferrari in terms of performance than expected at the Australian Grand Prix, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.
Both Ferrari and Haas enjoyed promising pre-seasons but the Scuderia failed to deliver on that potential in Melbourne, finishing fourth and fifth nearly a minute behind race winner Valtteri Bottas. A pit stop problem saw Romain Grosjean retire having been running in the top 10, but Kevin Magnussen had a strong run to sixth and was 30 seconds behind the fourth-placed Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel as the final car on the lead lap.
“Yes, but I think Ferrari had a particularly bad weekend (in Melbourne) and I don’t think this will be the normal,” Steiner said of the gap being smaller than expected. “But that was the aim — to get closer to the top and not just move away from the others, because you’d do that automatically. We are in a good way we just need to keep it up.”
Steiner was more encouraged by the margin to the rest of the midfield, with Magnussen able to comfortably keep Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault at bay.
“Absolutely, the time distance from where we were (in qualifying) and the guys behind us, we were a solid sixth and seventh and they can do the same times in the car,” he noted. “Sometimes everything goes right on one occasion, but this car seems to be fantastic all the time and very solid. The drivers like it, the balance is good and it is always the same — so let’s hope we keep it like this.”
While Grosjean missed out on points, Steiner says the Frenchman is taking the positives from the level of performance the 2019 Haas has shown so far this year.
“He was disappointed and I spoke with him about it which is the right thing to do — apologizing, as this should not happen — but he is in good spirits as the car is good. It is not his last chance to make good points. Every lost point you never get back but on the other side there is great potential to make more points.
“I think he is looking forward. I said to the guys, ‘Let’s not dwell too much on what happened or could have happened. Let’s focus on fixing this.’ We could change people around, we will come up with a solution. It happened and it is gone. The car is good so let’s focus on what we are going to do to get it better.”