Haas team principal Guenther Steiner was left “negatively amazed” by the lack of performance of his team’s car in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Fresh from a strong pre-season and sixth place in Australia courtesy of Kevin Magnussen, Haas looked well-placed for another haul of points in Bahrain after qualifying with both cars in the top ten. Romain Grosjean was demoted to 11th due to a grid penalty, but Magnussen still started sixth after qualifying just 0.005s off Max Verstappen. However the Dane rapidly went backwards in the race, while Grosjean retired after early contact.
“We just don’t know what happened,” Steiner said. “We have no idea what happened. I actually should be more down, but I’m not even upset because I’m just amazed. More amazed than upset. After having the qualifying we had and then ending up with the race and not knowing why the pace was just lost overnight, it’s so weird to have no idea.
“On the good side of things, we can test here on Tuesday and Wednesday, so at least we have got the chance to try to find out what is happening in the test and to get a good picture of it. And on the other side, nobody overtook us in the points standing, so at least the damage wasn’t too big. By no means am I happy with the damage, but the damage isn’t too big.
“We just couldn’t get the tire to work for more than one lap. That’s what it looks like, but I cannot say that as a fact because we are just all amazed. Negatively amazed.”
Steiner referenced a lack of straight-line speed as one potential reason for the performance, but says the focus during the next two days of testing in Bahrain will be on tire evaluations.
“I think we need to look into it,” he said “In 2017 we had (tire problems) more than once and now we are all a little bit surprised by it, starting from the drivers to the engineers, we’re like ‘Woah, what happened here?’.
“Again, we have got two days of testing to find out if it was something like this, and maybe we can get the tire to work in the test and then we will know what it was. But by no means am I sure about that. I’m just more amazed than upset because we have always got the car to work well here, and this year we were completely off the chart.
“The only time was we had pace was when we finished the race, when we parked it. That was a blessing that the race was finished, because it is quite painful sitting and watching a car like this. It’s a long time.”