Haas’ Guenther Steiner: “There is still enough freedom to make the cars different to each other”

by Tom Cairns
Guenther Steiner - Haas F1 Team in the 2019 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix - Circuit of the Americas - Free Practice 3

Haas F1 Team shared their thoughts on the new regulations for 2021, changes that could help propel the American team up the grid in the years to come.

One of the changes is with the car, aerodynamically designed to allow it to follow another car in front more easily than the cars we are seeing on the track at present.

Team Principal Guenther Steiner is confident that his team will meet what the new regulations are after, particularly with potentially more overtaking on track.

“The car – it’s a little bit different, and it is a change. These are the regulations,” Steiner added. “We live with them and try to get the best out of it. We’ll try to achieve what the new regulations want to achieve, with more overtaking and a closing of the field.”

“The development, whatever the regulations, is always in aerodynamics. That’s the main thing to develop. There is still enough freedom where we can develop areas of the car to make them different from each other.

“We’ll try to get a little bit more performance out than our competitors. The floor is always one of the most important things on a Formula One car. It’s always been important and will continue to be, so not a lot will change in that respect. You’re always working to get everything out of the car from wherever you can.”

Steiner discussed more on the new car, as he was conscious of the new rules possibly making Formula 1 more like a spec series but was happy of the teams having the freedom of creativity to design their 2021 cars however they want.

“Yes. In the end, that was achieved. It was the biggest argument between FIA, FOM (Formula One Management) and the teams,” Steiner quoted. “The teams didn’t want to have a single-make car or be boxed in too much. We didn’t want to end up with a GP1 series. In the end, FOM opened up the creativity by opening up the regulations. So, hopefully, we can achieve it.”

“Nobody wants heavier cars in racing in general, and even more so in Formula One. It doesn’t make the cars look as smooth when they ride around. With all the technology and the safety aspects and the hybrid technology, you cannot do without it.

“I don’t think the 25 kilos will be the biggest factor in making the cars slower – it’s more the aerodynamics. Maybe at the beginning we are not where we want to be, but I’m pretty sure we’ll end up with the cars back to being as fast as they are now. A lot depends on the tires, as well.”

The Haas boss finally commented on the cost cap being brought in, as he expects that to help close the gap of the field down when it is enforced.

“I think in the beginning the cost cap – how it’s defined now – will close the gap, but it will not take the gap away,” Steiner said. “We are far from spending $175 million at the moment, and the big teams are well over that. The big teams need to come down, and they will get down to $175 million, but most of the other teams are well within that figure. Hopefully, it closes the gap to start off, then we’ll see. Maybe there’s a second step in the cost cap.”

Romain Grosjean - Haas F1 Team in the 2019 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix - Circuit of the Americas - Grid
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Romain Grosjean was impressed with how tirelessly those involved in putting together the prospective car design for 2021 and what the future holds for the sport.

“I think they look cool. I think they look futuristic without being away from what Formula One has been known for as a racecar,” Grosjean said. “I’m very happy with the way they look. Performance-wise, we’ll need to wait and see what the track brings, and if it’s got all the desired effects. Generally, I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far.”

“At the moment, every time you get behind a car you lose a lot of downforce, then you slide. It’s something you expect, but then the surface of the tires overheat and you completely lose grip. You can’t attack. If we don’t lose so much downforce then, hopefully, the tires won’t overheat as much, and therefore we’ll be able to stay closer and get more passing. That’s the idea and it should be OK.”

“Formula One cars are the fastest on Earth, so I think if we lose a couple of seconds a lap, but for better racing, I don’t think that’s the end of the world. We’ve got to see the big picture here.”

Kevin Magnussen - Haas F1 Team in the 2019 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix - Circuit of the Americas - Race
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Kevin Magnussen finds the most essential part of the regulations is to make the racing in Formula 1 “closer and better”.

“I think it’s pretty exciting to see the new regulations and the new cars for 2021,” Magnussen shared. “As is the case with every new Formula One regulation and with new-look cars, it’ll take a little time to get used to, then I think we’ll start loving the new looks. My initial feeling is good. The look is pretty good. The most important thing is that the racing gets closer and better, which I think there’s a good chance it might be.”

“If the wake of the car in front is less, the disturbed air is less, then you’ll be able to follow closer and you’ll get a better chance of overtaking. That’s good and, hopefully, it’ll improve enough so that we don’t need DRS (Drag Reduction System). Hopefully, the quality of the passes will become better, as well. It’s all good having lots of passing, but if it’s all done with DRS on a straight line, it’s not really that exciting. I’d rather see the same amount of passing, or less, but better quality racing. That’s the point – to get more exciting racing.”

“I think increasing the weight of the car is not a positive, but I guess it must have been inevitable, otherwise they wouldn’t have done it. I do think the teams will overcome it over time. Probably the first couple of years, the cars will be a bit slower – if not quite a bit slower – then they’ll probably get close to where they are now at some point. Teams always find more and more performance. Hopefully, the cars will be very quick again. We all like to go fast and have a lot of grip. We want to drive the fastest cars on the planet.”

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