Haas targets return to 2018 performance peak next year · RaceFans

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner sees the 2022 F1 season as the team’s opportunity to return to its competitive peak.

The team’s fifth place in the 2018 constructors championship remains their best season-long performance to date. Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen achieved their best race result with fourth and fifth respectively in that year’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Since then the team has slumped to ninth place in the 2019 and 2020 championships. It scored just three points last season and the team’s future was thrown into jeopardy by the disruption to income caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Haas has secured major backing from Russian petrochemicals company Uralkali, which is linked to new driver Nikita Mazepin, for 2021. But the team will campaign a little-changed car for the new season as it focuses the investment on developing a chassis for the radically overhauled 2022 regulations.

Mazepin is joined by fellow rookie Mick Schumacher in the team’s line-up. But Steiner denied the upcoming year will be a “holding season” for the team. “It’s a transitional season, I call it,” he said. “It’s a transition to get to ’22.”

Haas has not used either of its two ‘development tokens’ for the upcoming season. Steiner said there was no point to put significant resources into its 2021 car given the change in regulations which are coming.

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“We did this with the expectation that this year if we invest a lot of time, money, tokens, wind tunnel time, it’s [just] one year,” said Steiner. “We were starting late last year anyway, the car wasn’t our best car, so if you put it all together, it was actually pointless to invest in the short term. It was much more important to invest in the mid and long term, and that is the ’22 regulations.”

Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2018
Haas scored their best result at the Red Bull Ring in 2018

Treating the upcoming season as a year of preparation will also give the team time to give its new drivers more experience, said Steiner.

“We don’t have to forget we have got two rookie drivers. As I said already when we announced them, this is part of it, of the whole plan. We want to get ready for ’22 in all areas.

“So in the end we come up with two drivers which are ready, are young and hungry, because they haven’t been there, and we have got a good car for them in ’22.”

Steiner wants the team to be “back like we were in 2018 to fight on the top of the midfield” next year.

“I always am very hesitant to give positions out because as long as you are racing and fighting, that is what a sport is about. Some you win and some you lose and then you just try to do the best. But to get stubborn with ‘I want to achieve this number’, it’s very difficult because I don’t know what the other teams are doing.

“But if we will get back to our performances from 2018, I would be very happy.”

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