Haas needs to ensure it improves its position within Formula 1 in the short term before considering more major changes to the way the team is structured, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.
The 2023 season started encouragingly for Haas but it soon faded with poor race pace and the team ended up finishing at the bottom of the constructors’ standings. With many of its rivals currently investing heavily in new infrastructure, Haas retains its setup that employs Dallara’s manufacturing capabilities alongside a Ferrari partnership, and Steiner says it has proven successful in the past.
“Nobody wants to be 10th here,” Steiner told RACER. “You feel the pressure, obviously, because you want to do better. If I didn’t feel the pressure then I would be happy with that, and I’m for sure not happy with where we are.
“I think what we need is to work hard and find the performance on the car so that we can get better… we know we can do it because we have done it before.
“We did this analysis of what we need to do. I think at the moment where we are is actually a help to move forward again, because you can rely on what we have got and what we have done before. If we now try to do everything ourselves, normally when you would do such a big step you have to make a step backward to do two forward, so the risk would be even bigger to be worse off than we are now for the short term.
“Obviously the mid- and long term is a different story, but at the moment we need to get out of the hole in the short term in my opinion to show what we can do, and then we can think, ‘Could we allow ourselves to make a step backwards?’ But if you make a step backwards now, where do we end up?
“So at the moment we need to be patient and conscious and work with this business concept we are using now, with this model, and just try to get back to where we were a few years ago.”
Although Haas effectively wrote off its 2021 season to stabilize financially and be able to invest in its 2022 car, Steiner says the way F1 has changed in such a short space of time makes a similar decision less likely.
“You never want to do that — you cannot allow yourself to even think about that,” he said. “It’s not like I can go out there and say, ‘Yeah, we’ve decided for two years we will definitely finish 10th.’ We have done that before when we were struggling in the COVID years; we cannot do that and we do not want to do that because we have also a responsibility to all the people who work here who put a lot of effort in to move forward.
“We just need to push that we do what we did before. We always were the smallest team and finished very well. It’s not like it’s just now; the last three or four years there was no bad team in Formula 1 — they were all very good.
“Everything is getting closer and closer together. I go back to the Brazilian qualifying — from P1 to P20 in Q1 there was around 0.8s. 0.8s is nothing. So it’s just like that little bit and that little more can move you quite a bit.”