Investing in the development of a mule car to test 2022 tires for Pirelli is a sign of how serious Haas is about its future, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.
Haas adapted a 2019 car to be closer to the performance characteristics of the 2022 rules in order to test next year’s tires, when Pirelli will provide tires for 18-inch wheels for the first time in Formula 1. The test took place at Silverstone last week and Steiner believes it provided Haas with important data as well as experience on the new tires for its rookie drivers.
“With reduced testing, it’s very important,” Steiner said. “It’s a big change in general next year, and we need to get our own understanding and data. The drivers need to get a taste of the new tires, get a feeling and give us feedback of what they think. In general, even making a hybrid car, which is a converted 2019 car, obviously doesn’t come for free, but it’s worthwhile to do it.
“We are a serious team and this is a part of it to get prepared for the future. As we all know, we’re working very hard on 2022 to get us back to where we were – we need to do this – and it’s worth every bit of effort to get there. For the drivers to get a feel, and for the team to get some data, it’s very valuable information.”
While the tire testing focused heavily on preparing for the future, Steiner noted that the mid-season break that follows the Hungarian Grand Prix will be particularly important in allowing him time to further consider some of the wider issues the team faces.
“It’s impossible to switch off but you can use the time when you are not under pressure with the day-to-day things to think about the bigger picture,” Steiner said. “I think that is always a good time because when you’re not doing anything, it just gives you the opportunity to focus on the things that don’t need an immediate answer and to be a little bit creative and create a vision for the future of the team and for personal life.
“It’s always good to have some time off, but the biggest thing is there is little day-to-day work to do so you can use this time to be creative.”