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Formula 1

Haas’s unorthodox and delayed single-upgrade plan explained

by Edd Straw
3 min read

Haas’s major upgrade, originally planned for the French Grand Prix, is now set to appear one race later in Hungary – and will be the only big package the team introduces during the season.

Team principal Guenther Steiner revealed last month the intention to bring what he called a “substantial” package to Paul Ricard. This is now likely to appear at the Hungaroring the following weekend instead.

The delay is the consequence of the team needing to “check something in the windtunnel” related to the package. That work has now been done, with the parts now in production and likely to be ready for the last race before the summer break at the end of July.

However, Steiner did not rule out the package appearing in France, as its timing is dependent on the rate at which the parts can be produced.

“I said France, but maybe it’s Hungary because we took a step back because we wanted to check something else in the windtunnel,” said Steiner.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Azerbaijan Grand Prix Qualifying Day Baku, Azerbaijan

“But now we are full steam on in production for Hungary, that’s our aim.

“Obviously we try to better it, but I don’t know where we’ll get to.”

Haas has made a strong start to the season, although its return of 15 points and eighth in the constructors’ championship is disappointing considering the pace of the car.

It has failed to score in the last four races, with the best results since Kevin Magnussen’s fifth place in the Bahrain season-opener a pair of ninths.

But it is hoped that the new package will bring a big step in performance while the main development focus switches to the 2023 car.

“Visually a big step, performance-wise hopefully a big step,” said Steiner of the upgrade.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Azerbaijan Grand Prix Qualifying Day Baku, Azerbaijan

“That’s my hope. How it looks, I don’t really care, but you will see the difference.

“[Then] we shift to next year’s car, no further upgrades.”

Although Haas is open to bringing any required minor tweaks to the car after the summer break, this is its last planned package – and indeed the only one of the season. While new parts have appeared across the first eight events of the year, none of these have been part of a big update.

The team has taken a consciously cautious approach to upgrades this year, with Steiner saying earlier in the year that upgrades “can be a bit overrated” and stressing the need to ensure that the team has a good understanding of the package it has and maximise performance that way.

This is partly down to the lessons of 2020 and ’21, where the team was able to find performance gains without making upgrades purely through its depth of knowledge of how to get the best out of the car that comes with experience. It’s also about maximising the efficiency of a team that is still operating a little below F1’s cost cap limit.

“We are just stopping to make parts for this car,” said Steiner of the development strategy.

“You always continue to develop and obviously if you find something which on this car gives you a big advantage, yes, you do it.

“But we are not specifically working on a big package [for after Hungary]. If we find something which we didn’t know, we produce it.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Monaco Grand Prix Saturday Monte Carlo, Monaco

“If you ask if we’ve got a plan to do something I say no, because if then something comes up, I can change my plan to bring something.

“But at the moment the plan is to focus on next year. It was an honest question, it’s an honest answer!”

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