Haas will introduce bigger upgrade packages to its 2022 car rather than regular small updates, says team principal Guenther Steiner.
Last year’s bottom team has enjoyed a strong start to the new season, taking advantage of new regulations to make a big step forward to the front of the midfield. While the likes of McLaren and Aston Martin have struggled so far, Steiner is confident Haas can remain competitive, even without bringing multiple small upgrades to the car on a regular basis.
“We will bring upgrades as well,” Steiner said. “People like to be bringing upgrades, but if you bring upgrades worth one, two or three points (of downforce) – the part looks different but what does it actually do? That’s what’s important for me.
“If you ask an aerodynamicist they would bring a million dollars’ worth of upgrades for one point (of downforce) to every grand prix, so that needs to be managed under he budget cap. Obviously I’m not saying nobody brings good ones, but I think they are a little bit overrated sometimes.
“I want to stay calm this year intentionally. Not because we haven’t got money, [but] we want to get a package together saying this brings a certain amount of points, we can measure it properly and if we make progress and we don’t change the balance of the car then we introduce it. Not just ‘we need upgrades left, right and centre’.
“No, let’s focus on the car, understand it and get the best out of what we’ve got.”
Haas didn’t upgrade its 2021 car at all yet still made small improvements to its competitiveness through the year, but it was an earlier example that has impacted Steiner’s approach.
“I didn’t learn a lot last year I can tell you that! I just I don’t want another season like this,” he said. “No, to be honest we learned that in 2019 when we continued to bring upgrades and we ended up at the last race with the package of the first race. That’s how good the upgrades were, and normally I get it wrong once, the second time I try not to do the mistake.”
And Steiner is also confident there is a lot more performance to be unlocked by Haas with its 2022 car even without bringing new parts, having had a disjointed pre-season.
“I think the biggest improvement will be in the set-up at the moment, because we haven’t done enough testing. There are still things to come. It’s not that we have a bad set-up but I think there is more in the car still if we have more time to work.
“It’s not that the guys don’t understand it, it’s just that we need to learn about it because in testing we did half the mileage of the big teams, and on Friday [in Saudi Arabia] with Kevin we did three timed laps.
“So I think there are still things in there to be better, it’s just that we are really finding out where we need to be, but the rest of the car seems to be very well under control.”