Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the upgrade introduced at the United States Grand Prix is not working as expected so far.
A change of concept to follow the Red Bull approach was brought to Austin this weekend as Haas delivered its largest in-season upgrade ever in order to learn more about its direction for next year. With just one practice session to learn about the new package before parc ferme regulations kicked in, the team was keen to temper expectations but Steiner says the pace shown in the Sprint meant it was still underperforming.
“It didn’t go to plan today,” Steiner said. “We’ve got more work to do but initially we’re not very happy with what’s happened, so we have to see how we tackle tomorrow. We found a few things and went in the wrong direction, but it’s difficult to jump to a conclusion after one practice, two qualifying sessions and one short race. At the moment, we have to find more as the upgrade’s not done what we expected.”
Both drivers dropped out in SQ1 and then struggled overall in the race with Kevin Magnussen crossing the line in 18th place following Lance Stroll’s retirement.
“It wasn’t a great Sprint, the pace dropped off a lot, so we’ll investigate tonight and assess what we think,” Magnussen said. “We can’t change anything for tomorrow, so it is what it is, and we’ll see what we can do. I got a decent start and a decent first lap, then stayed there for a few laps before the well-known cycle of getting overtaken and the tires dropping off started.”
While Magnussen saw familiar issues, teammate Nico Hulkenberg was slightly more positive after a 15th-place finish in the Sprint.
“It feels like the first real running with the car, to be honest, because in practice there’s so many things going on,” Hulkenberg said. “Then, there were just two qualifying sessions which were also short, just two runs each time, or less. It’s good to get some proper mileage with it, some long-run data and some feel for it.
“Obviously, it doesn’t look too good right now, but there’s more for us to analyze and understand, and more to discover with this package. At a Sprint weekend it’s difficult to explore that and unlock it.”