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Formula 1

Haas ‘a bit scared’ by scale of its F1 reliability problems

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Haas Formula 1 boss Guenther Steiner says he is “a bit scared” of the reliability problems that plagued his team during testing and left it with a “big mountain to climb”.

Last year’s 10th-placed team turned heads in pre-season testing with impressive pace from both Mick Schumacher and the returning Kevin Magnussen, who is a late full-season replacement for Nikita Mazepin.

Schumacher ended the test second-fastest and while Haas is likely to have shown more of its hand than other teams there was a sense that the VF-22 has a strong foundation after Haas sacrificed 2021 to focus all its attention on the new technical regulations.

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One area it did struggle though was reliability as a litany of issues across the Spain and Bahrain tests, including left it low mileage.

On day two in Bahrain alone the car suffered an oil leak, a cooling problem and an exhaust issue that limited Schumacher to 23 laps.

Ahead of this weekend’s season opener, Steiner said: “What we need to start working on is the reliability.

“We didn’t have it as we wanted it and we’ve got a big mountain to climb ahead of us.

“Performance-wise, it’s difficult to say because we haven’t done enough running, but I would say it doesn’t look bad.”

In total across the entirety of pre-season, Haas registered 100 fewer laps than the next team, Alfa Romeo – in terms of distance, that meant Haas completed 346 miles less running.

That has left the team setting a low target for the Bahrain Grand Prix, where Steiner believes simply “to finish the race” would be a success, but if the VF-22 runs properly there is a belief that the team could return to the points for the first time since 2020.

“We had a lot of issues reliability-wise that I’m a bit scared of, but I think if we can finish the race, we have a big chance,” he said.

“I’m optimistic, cautiously optimistic, about getting into the points and that would be success.”

Steiner’s caution was echoed by returnee Magnussen, who replaced the axed Mazepin between the tests.

Magnussen spent 2021 racing in sportscars in the United States but enjoyed a morale-boosting first day back in an F1 car last week when he set the fastest time on day two of the test.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Day Two Sakhir, Bahrain

He said: “Our objectives for this weekend are – first of all with these new cars – my biggest worry is not finishing the race.

“I think it’s important to get off to a solid start rather than an explosive one.

“Of course, it would be nice to get a super good result and that’s 100% what we’re gunning for but most importantly it’s to get a good start, some foundation to work from for the rest of the season.”

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