For the past two seasons, the Haas F1 Team have been circling around the back of the pack in Formula 1, with last year seeing them end without a point for the first time in their history.
All focus in 2021 was on developing the 2022 car, and Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin were often left fighting over who would finish last. However, the plan to put all the development into the VF-22 rather than the VF-21 has already begun to pay off in the opening round of this season.
Following Mazepin’s departure from the team, Kevin Magnussen had been tasked at driving the VF-22 alongside Schumacher, with the Dane returning to Formula 1 after a year away racing sportscars. And what a return it was!
Magnussen qualified inside the top ten for the Bahrain Grand Prix, the first time since 2019 that Haas had achieved that feat, and he followed that up with a strong race performance. He was running seventh going into the final few laps and was then promoted to an excellent fifth after both the Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers were forced into retirement with mechanical issues.
Schumacher finished agonisingly just outside the points in eleventh but was running for much of the day with damage caused by contact on lap one from BWT Alpine F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon, but both Haas cars had a lot more pace than many were expecting them to have going into the weekend.
Guenther Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, said the ten points was a just reward for a team that had been through a lot across the past couple of seasons, and he is extremely proud of them as they never gave up even when everything looked hopeless.
“A very good day for us today, it’s good to be back for the whole team,” said Steiner. “They’ve done a fantastic job, not just today but for the last two years.
“Everyone kept their head high and just got ready for the moment that we would have a good car. When that moment came, everyone did their part and I’m very proud of them, and they can be proud of themselves.”