Haas focussed on finding speed, not on upgrades – Steiner

Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner has defended the team from criticism about the lack of upgrades it brought for the VF-18 at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Many teams used the opportunity presented by the first European race of the year to roll out new components. By comparison, Haas’s raft of changes was relatively subdued.

And looking at the outcome, it doesn’t appear to have done the American-based squad any harm compared to their rivals. Both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean made it through to the final round of qualifying in Barcelona.

Magnussen went on to finish ‘best of the rest’ in sixth place after Grosjean spun out in the first corner.

“We’re especially satisfied with that result because a lot of other teams brought upgrades for their cars and we didn’t,” Magnussen said afterwards. “We still managed to stay ahead. Our upgrades are coming, and we’re looking forward to that. We’re not going to sit still.”

“We proved that the car is quick, and it’s been quick in all five races this year,” agreed Steiner this week. “I think for the whole team it’s very satisfying to have shown up in Barcelona and continued to have the pace we did when we were there for winter testing.

“Sometimes just getting everything out of what you’ve got is better than to keep on upgrading,” he continued.

“I speak only for ourselves, because as we’ve seen, the car is still good. And sometimes with the upgrades, you need a little bit of time to make them work.

“Our upgrades will be coming as well, so we’re in a good spot,” he added.

  • Grosjean: ‘A tough series recently, with tough luck’

Despite some setbacks – like a double retirement in the opening race in Melbourne – Haas is up to sixth place in the constructors standings. That puts them ahead of the likes of Force India, Toro Rosso and Sauber.

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“We just need to get the points,” said Steiner. “There’s no point in being quick and then going home without points.”

He said that the result in Spain showed the progress the squad is making in its third year in Formula 1.

“The team has just grown everywhere,” he said. “In general, the aero and design teams produced a good car, and the race team brings it to the tracks and tries to get the best out of it.

“We are a lot better in understanding tyres and getting them into the window to work,” he said. “We’ve added engineers to help us with that, as we were a little bit weak there last year.

“We decided to do something – and with everything in Formula 1, it takes time.

“The other personnel started at the beginning of this year and it seems to be working. We are very happy with that.

“The car is good, so it’s easier to do that. We’ve just gotten better over the last two years. We’re only now in our third season, and I look forward to more to come.”

Next up on the calendar is Monaco. It’s a special race for Formula 1 fans, but perhaps less so for Haas with its American heritage consisting of the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500.

“For me, Monaco is a race like all the others. We’re there to perform and score points,” said Steiner.

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