Haas has saved $250,000 to put towards its car development by reducing the number of people on its pit wall.
On the first day of Formula 1 pre-season testing Haas used a much smaller pit wall unit than the other teams, with just three seats for team members. As Haas is now operating at the cost cap, team principal Guenther Steiner says he has been looking at ways of freeing up further budget for car development and felt the pit wall was one such area.
“When you need to make efficiencies, you look at everything — but not just efficiency, when you need money to invest in development because we have the cost cap, where do you put it?” Steiner said. “We have six people out there, or a quarter of a million on car updates? I know what we are doing, and the guys came up with that idea.
“If I need to stay inside, I have no problem to as well. I don’t need to be there. With three seats, we can cover what we need to cover and we re-arrange. It’s mainly a saving to put that money into development, because we are at the cost cap.”
Steiner remains on the pit wall alongside team manager Pete Crolla and chief race engineer Ayao Komatsu, and says the savings show how much the team is prioritizing performance.
“Absolutely — the only way to get faster is development, so we try to free up as much as possible for development and not spend it on prat perches for example, having a lot of people there.
“This year we could plan a lot better as well, because last year everything was late and we couldn’t look too far forward, we just needed to get to the first race. This year, by signing everything off a little bit earlier, we could start a little bit earlier with the development and have a better plan to put them on the car.”
Haas was hampered on the opening day of testing by a throttle issue that Ferrari will rectify overnight, but Steiner is unconcerned by the lost time.
“It wasn’t easy, because you have to take everything off to get to it and fix it. Therefore we didn’t lose a lot of time. If we have nine and a half hours today, if we lose an hour of that or two, that’s a lot of time percentage-wise. But on the run, we didn’t lose a lot to be honest. One run with tires.”