Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes his rivals are also confused about the performance swings and struggles many experienced during qualifying for the French Grand Prix.
Haas’ Romain Grosjean dropped out in Q1 but inherits a place on the grid due to Daniil Kvyat’s power unit penalty, meaning the Frenchman will start 16th alongside teammate Kevin Magnussen.
Qualifying has tended to be a strong point for Haas this season, but Paul Ricard saw an uncompetitive performance that Steiner says was also evident in a number of other teams.
“The whole weekend was weird,” Steiner said. “If you look into the sessions, all of a sudden one team goes up to fifth best and then they are down again. It’s all over the place. And we don’t understand it. If we knew what was happening then we could fix it, but at the moment we don’t know what we need to fix.
“That’s what we are discussing: What actually is going wrong here? If there would be an easy answer … If it was only ourselves, that would be one thing, but the others must be confused as well because the swings are quite dramatic.
“We don’t understand it and I don’t think the others do [either] because otherwise they wouldn’t have the swings. That’s my guess anyway. I don’t want to speak for the other teams; I’ve got enough to do with my one!”
Steiner is at least hopeful Haas will have a more positive day on Sunday, citing the long-run performance during practice that was more competitive than its qualifying pace.
“It was a difficult day. We just couldn’t get the lap time in. We tried a lot over the weekend and we were hoping that it would come toward us with the increased heat and the track temperature; but it didn’t, so here we are.
“Let’s see tomorrow because it seemed that on Friday our race pace was not too bad — not as bad as it was at the last race in Canada — so maybe we can do something there. But qualifying was absolutely not to our liking.
“It’s just lap time. The balance sometimes seems to be not so bad, the drivers said. It’s just grip, the general level of grip. It’s not that they complained it was massively over- or under-steering; it’s just we are not so fast, which is very odd.”