After a slightly underwhelming Grand Prix under the teams new branding of the Uralkali Haas F1 Team, every Grand Prix at the moment is a learning experience for both rookies, Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher, ahead of the 2022 regulations which the American team are targeting.
Guenther Steiner – Team Principal of the Uralkali Haas F1 Team knows the capabilities of the car and expectations are not very high on the points scoring front, but both rookies learned a lot from the weekend which is the most important thing both drivers being able to learn from spins that they occurred in the race.
“Well, the performance of the team and the car – we know what that will be. So, the expectations were not high, at least results-wise. I think the two drivers did a good job over the course of the weekend.
“Obviously, in the race Nikita spun out and damaged the car, and Mick spun once too – but the whole weekend for them was a learning phase. We need to do more of it, and as many laps as possible, with all that we’ll be fine. It was one weekend from 23. We need to get better and better, work on getting more laps in, and keep learning – that’s the mission.”
Steiner feels that starting afresh with a new team name, new drivers is a big challenge mainly focusing on the drivers being comfortable and leaving them to their own devices in how they manage their time. Both drivers will be spending most of their time with engineers not really with the German team principal, saying this Steiner will be overseeing all of this and may need to intervene if things aren’t up to his high standards.
“It is quite a big challenge. Formula 1 is a very difficult sport, but we knew the challenge, therefore there’s no big surprise. We decided to do this, and we need to get through it. I just try to see it that the drivers feel comfortable – I don’t try to micromanage them.
“They have their engineers and they need to work with them on a day-to-day basis, or more accurately on an hour-to-hour basis, not with me. For sure though, in the beginning, I will be well-informed what is happening and try to see where I may need to intervene.”
Steiner credits the people around him for the good work done in the team and his job is to mainly oversee everything that is happening – being there to resolve potential issues that might be with personnel or the car.
“I’m not doing the job myself; I’ve got good people working for the team which know how to do the job better than me. I just observe what is happening. If there’s a problem I’m there to ask what it is and then I see if I need to do something.”
Steiner feels that the grid is exactly as he expected it after testing, with the German foreseeing the fight between Red Bull Racing and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team to be very close.
“A very short answer. The grid looked exactly as I expected it to after testing. I think we’ll see a fight between Red Bull and Mercedes for wins this season.”
When Haas previously visited Imola they had no data on how the cars perform on the circuit but now returning to the circuits a little over five months later the information collected last year will be of great benefit to both Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher as they embark on their second race in Formula 1. This can be used to help set the car up, but there have been regulation changes over the winter so experimenting still needs to be done to perfect how the car feels.
“It’s mainly useful in the car set-up. Even if the cars haven’t changed a lot, they have still changed with the aero regulations, so there is a difference. It’s always good to have been at a race track. Everything you know, and what you’ve learned, it’s all useful. The more you’ve been the better it is. For sure it will help the team and our rookie drivers.”