Saturday, April 20, 2024

Haas’ Günther Steiner aims to use sprint weekend in Austria as a “test session” to investigate their lack of race pace

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team Principal Günther Steiner said that the team is focused on finding a balance between their strong qualifying results and weaker race day performance, with Nico Hülkenberg crossing the line in fifteenth place after starting fifth at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Steiner added that the team has found some “leads” as to why VF-23 can put up a front row qualifying result but struggles to remain in the points, and said that once they nail down what the cause is, they will take that finding into account as they develop next year’s car. 

“We’re investigating the very good performance we have in qualifying and not-so-good performance during the race at the moment. We’re trying to pinpoint it but for the next races we’re maybe going to try and find a sweeter spot between the two sessions, qualifying and the race, so something in the middle. We’re working hard on it and trying to find out what we can do over the next races to make it better.

“We’ve got a few leads and for sure it will impact the VF-24 design. We obviously have to take that feature out of the car next year.”

Both Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen have played a key role in this investigation according to Steiner, who said that they remain optimistic that they’ll be able to solve the issue that is causing such high tyre degradation and a lack of race pace.

I must admit, I’m actually very happy with both Kevin and Nico about how they’re an integral part in trying to sort the problem and find the solution, how we tackle the short and long-term fix for this, and they’re both very positive. Not about the performance in the race right now but positive that we can get out of the problem we have now.”

With the Austrian Grand Prix’s sprint format offering two opportunities to run VF-23 in a racing scenario, Steiner looks to treat this weekend as a “test session” where they can execute the ideas they’ve been formulating. 

“We’re going into this race partly a little bit like a test session as well. We have a lot of things to try and cure our problems with the race pace, so we have a few ideas. As we have two races now this weekend, we’ve got double the amount of time to try to do different things. 

“Obviously, we always try to get the best result possible but also maybe we compromise the best result possible for really understanding what is happening with our car on race day.”

Credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team / Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images