Haas’ Guenther Steiner: “With a better car, you’re more in the spotlight”

by Paul Hensby
Guenther Steiner - Haas F1 Team

Guenther Steiner says it is important for the Haas F1 Team to avoid further mistakes in 2018, particularly as with an improved car it makes absences from the top ten even more visible.

The team principal has watched both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean show good speed with the VF-18 this season, but they have only eleven points on the board after the opening three races and sit eighth in the championship standings.

“It’s in all areas, and I think we’re getting a lot better, and that’s our biggest improvement to make this year,” said Steiner.  “In comparison with our competitors, our car is better than the last two years.

“So, every little mistake away from the racecar, on the operations side, has big consequences, as we’ve seen this year. We’re getting better, and how you go about that, the people responsible for it need to understand the responsibility, and we try to work hard to implement new processes and new procedures.

“With a better car, you’re more in the spotlight and people see it quicker. If you’re running around twelfth and thirteenth, you’re seen only if you go into the points. Now, when we have a car which can solidly end up in the points, if you’re not in there, you’re just much more visible.”

Steiner admits it may be possible for a podium finish this season for Haas, which would be their first in Formula 1, particularly as he looks at the result of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix where Sergio Pérez took a top three finish for the Sahara Force India F1 Team, but he admits circumstances would need to fall into place for that to happen.

“If all the stars line up, then it’s possible, like in Azerbaijan where it did for Sergio Pérez and everything lined up for him and he took the opportunity,” said Steiner.

“Something like this needs to come up for us to achieve that. Just racing ourselves into a podium will be difficult without other circumstances, like some of the top-three teams dropping out.”

Steiner feels the team has not had the luck of the draw so far in 2018, but it is up to them to be in a position to capitalise on their opportunities going forward, starting this weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

“We just need to execute,” said Steiner.  “The car is capable at any track to get into the points. We just need to execute and we need a little bit of luck.

“As much as I don’t believe in being unlucky, I wouldn’t call us lucky this year. A little bit of luck, and good execution, which we’ve shown we can do, and the car is there. At the moment, we could do it any weekend, we just need to get all the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted.”

Looking ahead to this weekend, Steiner says it will offer an idea into just which teams have made progress across the opening races of the season since they last ran at the track during pre-season testing.

“I think we get a clearer picture of who’s made progress during the first four races,” said Steiner.  “I think that’s the only thing you can see.

“The testing times – as much as they’re testing times, and not qualifying or racing times – they give you a picture of who is where. I think the Spanish Grand Prix will give a picture of who has progressed and who didn’t.”

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