Haas team principal Guenther Steiner thinks the midfield fight will narrow down to two or three teams fighting for fourth place in the constructors’ championship.
McLaren has enjoyed the most consistent start to the season of the midfield teams, with Carlos Sainz finishing sixth in Monaco to give it a 13-point advantage over fifth-placed Racing Point. Just four points cover fifth to ninth in the standings – Racing Point, Haas, Toro Rosso, Renault and Alfa Romeo – but Steiner expects the battle for fourth to develop between a smaller group as the season goes on.
“Everybody’s close together, even fourth place is not far away, because if one team has a good result with both cars going, it’s easy to move up to fourth,” Steiner said. “Everything is very tight, especially between fifth and ninth. I think it’s good for the championship, and this has happened mainly because everybody’s struggled at some stage.
“It will get more and more interesting as we move forward in the season. At some stage there will be two or three teams that move a little ahead, if everything goes to plan for them, but I still think it’ll be very tight. Everybody seems to struggle at certain kinds of tracks, but we’re not all struggling on the same ones.”
The majority of Haas’ struggles have been attributed to the Pirelli tires and the team’s inability to get them to work properly, but Steiner says some progress has been made ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
“We’re a little bit more hopeful than maybe where we were about four weeks ago. The soft family (of tires) in Monaco worked pretty well on our cars, so hopefully we can get them to work – get them up to temperature – in Canada, as well. We’ll only know this after Friday practice. It’s too early to tell.
“I think we have a handle on the car, but we’re not 100 percent sure about the tires, because it’s so track-specific if the tire gets up to temperature or not. The only proof is when you get there and run on a Friday to see what you can get out of it. We are a little bit more optimistic than we were about four weeks ago.”