Guenther Steiner says Pirelli bringing a more regular selection of tyre compounds to the Suzuka International Racing Course this weekend will not alter the way the Haas F1 Team prepare for the weekend, as it is important for them to adapt to whatever tyres available on whatever track surface they race on.
The Russian Grand Prix last weekend saw two of the three softest tyre compounds – the Hypersoft and Ultrasoft – used alongside the Soft, but the Japanese Grand Prix weekend will see the use of the Supersoft, Soft and Medium, but Steiner says that despite the harder compounds, the preparation will continue in the same thorough manner.
“Nothing changes,” said Steiner. “We take the data from Suzuka and use it for our preparations. We have all the data from the racetracks. We just adapt our simulations to whatever tyres are used and whatever the track surface is.
“With tyres, it’s not as easy as this. The track surface is in play, and where the tyre works is a second component. It’s not saying they are now close together again and it’s better, it’s different from track to track. You cannot compare one with the other.
“When we test in FP1 and FP2, then we know what we have to do. At this moment in time, it’s very difficult to predict.”
Steiner believes Haas are confident heading into the weekend that they can find a good set-up with their VF-18, although there will need to be a bit of sacrifice when it comes to speed and downforce in order to give both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean the best possibility of setting good lap times.
“You can’t do a lot more than what your car has already, and we are pretty confident that what we’ve got is working well,” said Steiner. “We just need to find a balance for the weekend. Japan is high speed and there are some challenging corners, but it’s a nice place to be and I hope we can find a good setup and show what we can do.
“Once you find the quickest way around the track by balancing top-end speed versus downforce, the driver is quite happy because he wants to be quickest around the track. For them, the happiest is when they get a good lap time.”
Steiner admits drivers need to be brave around Suzuka, particularly as accidents tend to be quite big if they make mistakes, however the car will need to be set-up in minute detail, particularly as the track tests every bit of skill a driver possesses.
“You need to be a brave man around Suzuka,” said Steiner. “You’re at high speed and when you go off, sometimes it’s not a soft landing. You need to be brave, but you also need to be very technical to set the car up.
“Suzuka is definitely a track that tests driver skill.”