Guenther Steiner says the Haas F1 Team ‘learned a lot’ during the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test when it came to team keeping their tyre temperatures within their operating window, but this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix may just come a little too soon for their developments to turnaround their fortunes.
Whereas Haas has been amongst the quickest of the midfield teams during all three of the opening three race weekends, they have only broken into the points once thanks to Kevin Magnussen in Australia, while Romain Grosjean is still searching for his first top ten result of 2019 with the Frenchman having a best finish of eleventh, which came last time out in the Chinese Grand Prix.
“We learned a lot in the two-day test after the Bahrain Grand Prix,” said Steiner. “We understand it, we just couldn’t find solutions in time for the upcoming events, because you need to develop those solutions and parts.
“Hopefully we’ll get on top of that one, sort the problem, and be as competitive in the race as we are in qualifying.”
Race days have been tough for Haas, particularly in Bahrain and China, with both drivers going backwards compared to their starting position. Steiner knows the VF-19 is a different animal compared to its 2018 predecessor, and it is up to them to find the solution to their issues and quickly, else they could endure another tough Sunday in Azerbaijan.
“I couldn’t say that it’s more difficult than last year because the car is different – we’ve developed a completely new car,” he added. “We just know that we cannot get the tyres to work in the race.
“How big the window is, and to keep in it, is difficult to define. We definitely don’t get it in the window, so I wouldn’t know what it takes to keep it in the window.
“Baku will be another difficult event for us because of the long straight and the slow, low-energy corners. Hopefully some of our solutions will work, which we’ve been working on since the test in Bahrain – to get the tyres into the window. Otherwise, Baku could be another difficult circuit for us.”
One thing Haas has been doing well so far in 2019 is making it all the way through to the top ten shootout in Qualifying, with both Magnussen and Grosjean having done so in all three Grand Prix so far, something Steiner is both impressed and proud about.
“I think you always have to execute in a perfect manner to get through to Q3,” said Steiner. “Having a good car to start off with helps a lot, then you just leave it to the drivers to get it done.
“I think race engineering has done a good job with that.”