Haas have played down expectations of the performance gains they expect from a major upgrade package they will introduce after this weekend’s race.
The team will bring its long-awaited upgrade package for the VF-23 at the United States Grand Prix. Rivals such as McLaren and Aston Martin have made significant steps forward with their cars over the last 12 months.
However chief race engineer Ayao Komatsu said Haas’ upgrade is less about immediately unlocking performance and more about ensuring they get the best out of their new car for 2024.
“I think the concept of the car we’ve got, we’ve been trying to develop it, trying to make it better but we haven’t been really finding the solution,” admitted Komatsu. “So that’s why it’s been quite difficult [to tame].”
Haas have made few changes to their car since the season began. They team got both of their cars into Q3 and scored a point two races ago in Singapore, but are languishing in eighth in the championship. The upgrade which will come at for the Circuit of the Americas is not being introduced with the expectation of immediately making the team more competitive.
There “is a huge push from the factory” to get the upgrades ready in time for Haas’s home race at COTA, said Komatsu, although there is no anticipation of the upgrades enabling an instant jump up the order that would earn them strong results there.
“It’s quite a big update package, but in terms of putting on outright pace [on the car], it’s not that really, if you like,” said Komatsu.
“It’s more we’re doing it, and it’s a different concept, so we learn as much as possible as well. So to [be able to] do that learning in this year ahead of launching next year’s car is quite big.
“I cannot say for certain in terms of outright qualifying performance or race pace performance that we’re going to go ‘X’ amount quicker. But in terms of learning and having different characteristics of the car, I think we have done quite a lot. So it is very important that we do this.”
Despite the scale of change in concept of the car Komatsu says “officially, we’re not really expressing it as a ‘B-spec car.”
“It’s a bodywork change, sidepod inlet, floor, so it’s pretty extensive,” he explained. “We’re not doing front wing or rear wing but the aero characteristics are very different to what we’ve got here.”
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