The RACER.com Guest Mailbag with the Haas Formula 1 team

Image by Dunbar/Motorsport Images

The RACER.com Guest Mailbag with the Haas Formula 1 team

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The RACER.com Guest Mailbag with the Haas Formula 1 team

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GUENTHER STEINER

Q: What parts that Haas used to receive from Ferrari are you (or Dallara) now required to build yourselves? Has the support from Ferrari decreased in any way since Alfa Romeo rejoined F1? 

Paul Wilcoxen
Broken Arrow, OK

GS: The support hasn’t decreased since Alfa Romeo joined; everything has stayed the same. At the moment, we receive the same parts as we did in the beginning. With the new regulations, the ones that will now come in for 2022, there are a few small items that we will have to produce ourselves, probably about five percent more than we do now.

Q: Where do you think you are relative to the rest of the field based on pre-season testing?  Also, do you feel a lot of teams were sandbagging during the test? Is this common practice? Final question – do you feel that the new regulations (when they come in) will help make the field more equal?  

Thanks,

Sean
Arvada, CO

GS: The midfield is very tight; it’s difficult to say. The difference between fifth and eighth could be hundredths of a second, but I think we’re somewhere there. For sure people are sandbagging in testing, that’s also why it’s difficult to say where you end up if the field is very tight like it is this year in the midfield. The new regulations should make the field more equal, because the biggest element is the budget cap. The big teams will not be able to out-spend us, they’ll have to work on a smaller budget, which brings them closer to us.

Q: I really enjoy having you lead an American team. From what I’ve seen on Netflix and in interviews, you truly have the no-nonsense frankness that represents Americans! What was the experience for you like going from F1 to NASCAR? What did you learn from the whole experience (good and bad), and what major aspects of your life changed that you never saw coming?

Thank you,

Andrew Bane
Andrews, TX

GS: I would say you always learn when you do something different – that is, if you want to learn. I think there is nothing good or bad that I learned from going to NASCAR, it’s just different, and it widens your horizons. Some things you adapt to, and that can work pretty well in F1. In F1, sometimes it’s the same and you don’t always take things from outside. I always want to learn wherever I am in life, whether it’s F1, NASCAR or whatever. I want to continue to get better at my job.

Steiner is confident that the VF-20 is strong enough to be right in the midfield mix again. Image by Hone/Motorsport Images

Q: Do you really think Josef Newgarden could not hang with your boys? I do love seeing the red, white, and blue on the grid. 

Frank Aceves

Q: I was very excited when I heard about the formation of a new American Formula 1 team. Now, I have to admit it really rubbed me the wrong way when I heard Mr. Steiner dismiss the idea of Josef Newgarden having zero chance at success in F1. In my opinion Josef is the best American open-wheel driver out there. No offense to Haas’ current F1 drivers, but they have shown a tendency to make error after error. Why not give Josef a shot? I think I speak for a lot of American fans.

Thank you,

Mark
Niagara Falls, NY

Q: I would imagine I am not the only one who is going to ask this, but why have an “American” team when no American drivers are on it, nor in the pipeline? (Half credit for Fittipaldi)?

Al Gordon

GS: First I would like to clarify that I have never said an American isn’t good enough to drive in Formula 1, those were words put in my mouth, and were not true. I think it’s very difficult. I always look at someone like Josef; he’s very talented, but he has made a good career in IndyCar. We are still at the beginning of our journey in Formula 1, this is only our fifth season, and at the start it was difficult. Why should we risk running an American talent and them getting lost by driving for us when we are not ready? That was always one of the concerns.

We did have Santino (Ferrucci) driving for us in testing, and he did well. We supported him, and he’s now made a career out of what he learned with us and in the lower categories in Europe; he’s doing well in IndyCar. So, it’s not right to say we’ve never given it a shot, but in someone like Josef’s case, he’s so successfully in IndyCar, why would he take a risk to go to Formula 1 and run at the back of the field when he can win IndyCar championships? For me, that is the thing – we don’t want to be the people that do this. I would love to have an American driver coming along, but it’s very difficult. There were a few lost generations of American drivers wanting to go to Formula 1, because for a while there everyone wanted to get into NASCAR – you could make a very good career out of it, and that’s still true.

It’s a big commitment. If you want to get into Formula 1, you have to move to Europe for a certain period of time of your life. Living in the United States, I think for a young driver, is often more attractive than living in Europe on their own. Sometimes having your family and friends around you as a support is the preferred option for most people – which I fully respect and understand.

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