Haas is running out of time if it wants to switch power unit supplier and team principal Guenther Steiner is backing Ferrari to recover quickly from its current problems.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has said it will take a number of years to put the pieces in place for the team to enter into a winning cycle once again, with its power unit lagging far behind the other manufacturers on the grid this season. Haas relies on Ferrari for a number of components — including the power unit — and Steiner admits it is difficult to hear such comments but he expects a quicker turnaround from Maranello.
“When you hear that one… two or three years like this, that’s tough, that’s long Sundays,” Steiner told Sky Sports. “But I think it will not take this long, I’m optimistic on that one. On the other side, to switch engine, it’s a very difficult task.
“Also how we’re set up, we collaborate with them pretty closely since the beginning. We’ve got the gearbox, the suspension we buy from them, the hydraulics. If all of a sudden we have to gear up to do that for, let’s say, the 2022 car, there are only a few months left before you go into the design phase.
“I’m confident that we will get it quicker than they think and we will be pushing as well to get it resolved. That’s the only thing I can do in this moment, but hopefully it will get better sooner rather than later.”
Steiner admits he has thought about the prospect of switching to Renault — with Mercedes already supplying two customers and Honda working with Red Bull and AlphaTauri — but says to change the whole Haas model would take too long with a very different new car coming in 2022.
“There is only one obvious engine supplier which is available to us besides Ferrari. You all know how many cars will have a Mercedes engine next year. So they are full, I guess. But then, it’s not only to try and get the engine; I need to think of the bigger picture.
“If we change engines, we need to change completely what we are doing. We’ll just run out of time because ’22 is coming quicker than we know. From the 1st of January next year, everyone will start on the ’22 car.
“Also, Ferrari has been in this position before and has always come back. At the moment it’s very difficult to be optimistic but they have been very good the first three years (for Haas) — we had pretty good success for a new team in the first year. So you can’t just run away at the first hurdle.”