Despite a stuttering start to the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship for the MoneyGram Haas F1 Team, Team Principal Guenther Steiner has spoken on how he believes the performance of the VF-23 will help steer the team towards the front end of the midfield battle.
Ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, Haas sit seventh in the Constructors Standings with just one point after Kevin Magnussen was able to secure a tenth place finish last time out at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Speaking on how he expects to face another tough battle in the midfield, Steiner touched on how scoring points on a regular basis will prove to be a big driving factor for his team’s motivation across the campaign.
“This year we started off with a clear target in mind to better our position in the Constructors’ Championship from last year. Obviously, we didn’t score in Bahrain but as we all found out there are four very strong teams now in Formula 1 and the points that are up for grabs are not many.
“In Bahrain, we didn’t score but now we’ve scored one point in Saudi Arabia, and it was done pretty well. By saying that, I mean we didn’t luck into the point, we fought well for it. Getting points is the biggest motivation for the team, if you get points the team is happy and motivated to get up and go to the next race.”
While Haas haven’t been able to enjoy the results that the likes of Alfa-Romeo F1 Team Stake and BWT Alpine F1 Team have in the early stages of the season, moments such as Nico Hulkenberg’s Qualifying Three appearance in Bahrain and Magnussen’s tenth place finish in Jeddah, have given Steiner reason to believe they will be competing towards the front end of the midfield in 2023.
“As we’ve discussed, there are only a few points available for the midfield teams and everyone is in that midfield, from P6 down it’s all midfield, there is nobody behind. We must take every opportunity.
“I think we are in the midfield, the upper end of it, but every race could see a change where each team is. The only thing to do at the moment is to work hard and try not to make mistakes because they will cost dearly.”
Haas have endured a mixed set of fortunes at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit over the years, from Romain Grosjean claiming an impressive sixth place finish on the team’s Formula 1 debut in 2016, to the despair of back-to-back double DNF’s in 2017 and 2018.
While speaking on his excitement to be back racing in the city of Melbourne this weekend, Steiner took the time to reflect on that special debut result for the team seven years ago.
“Everybody likes coming to Melbourne. It’s a combination of things, it’s the wonderful people of Australia who always give us a big welcome, it’s the race track which is in the city, but it isn’t a street race it’s a race track, and it’s the history. It’s the welcome we’re given – people really appreciate us being there and it’s very simple, we all love to go there.
“I will never forget our first race in 2016 – getting to Australia and being confronted with all the issues we had because it’s still the first race for a team, and it’s very difficult for a new team in Formula 1. For us scoring points, every time I go there I remember that moment and for the team and people who were there on the first day, they still remember it. For us it’s always a great way to come back to that place and remember good memories.”