Haas is not planning any car upgrades at this stage of the 2020 Formula 1 season due to calendar uncertainty, while the team also revealed the FIA is looking at potential track alterations to limit damage to cars.
The opening eight rounds have so far been confirmed, all taking place in Europe over in July, August and the first weekend of September. With F1 targeting a championship of 15-18 races, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says he isn’t in a position to approve any upgrades without knowing what the team’s budget will be, due to the uncertainty regarding the final number of races and associated income.
“At the moment we are not planning any upgrades until we know exactly what we are doing this year budget-wise and what we are doing race-wise,” Steiner said. “I cannot spend money which I don’t know if I’ve got. At the moment we have to be very cautious with what we are doing, because obviously as you all know the income is going down with having less races and races without spectators.
“Until it’s very clear, I’m very cautious and just make sure we participate, that we do our job as best we can, that we are making no mistakes in the races and in the sessions and just focus on that. But trying to keep our heads down and do a good job with what we have got.”
Steiner says one upside of that approach is freedom to produce spare parts, while he says the FIA is also looking at ways of ensuring cars don’t get heavily damaged by run-off areas due to the congested schedule of eight races in 10 weeks. The curbs at the Red Bull Ring in Austria — which will host two races to start the season — have come in for particular criticism in the past from drivers, with components breaking on certain corner exits.
“First of all, spare parts is no concern; it’s just a planning issue. Actually the spares situation is made easier because we are not planning any upgrades at the moment. You know the races, you know how many parts you have to have. Sure, you don’t plan on having a lot of crashes or anything, but at the moment we take an average year to base our quantity of spare parts, so we shouldn’t have a problem. If we have a problem we will sort it, but there’s not a financial problem to have spare parts.
“And for the drivers, I think they know what they have to do. I think there are initiatives on the way to make the racetracks a little bit less aggressive towards the car with the run-off areas. Hopefully we can get that one done so we have less damage on some tracks. It’s all work in progress, but I’m very happy with the position we are in with spare parts and how we approach the coming races.”