Formula 1

Steiner fears gap to leading teams will not close up in 2017

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Guenther Steiner fears that the gap enjoyed by the top three teams will not be reduced this season.

Since pre-season testing in Barcelona, Scuderia Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team have shown themselves to be the pace setters of 2017, with Mercedes and Ferrari sharing the victory at the first three races.

The nearest contenders from outside this trio have found themselves up to two seconds behind despite the midfield battle proving so close and competitive.

The midfield teams are pretty close together, but yes, there is a significant gap to the big three,” the Haas F1 Team boss told the official F1 website.

The big teams, especially Mercedes and Ferrari – I think Red Bull is a bit behind – are pretty much ahead of the rest.

“Will that change? I hope so, but my fear is that it will stay that way for the whole season.”

The team were reluctant to undertake in-season development last year due to the regulation changes coming into play this season, but Steiner now believes they are capable of matching the bigger outfits in terms of output.

I don’t know what the other teams are doing, but we have a good plan,” he continued. “I think we are in the range of our midfield opponents in terms of quantity – then, of course, you have to make sure that the quality also delivers.

We will have a substantial upgrade for Barcelona – and the next step is still in the windtunnel.

“Once we find the gains we will start producing. And of course bits and pieces we will bring at any other race.”

Haas has been impressive at the first three stops of the year. Now the team are focusing on getting both cars home in the points at the same race.

Australia didn’t end well for us, so Shanghai and Bahrain were pretty sweet – very welcome results to be in the points two races in a row,” he added. “That doesn’t say that we can’t get better.

“Our internal target was to get both cars in the points, unfortunately it was not meant to be [in Bahrain] as Kevin’s car suddenly stopped for unknown reasons.

“So we will postpone that target to the next race in Russia – and from what the test [this week] suggests it looks very promising.”

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