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Formula 1

Steiner’s F-word column: The new Haas VF-21 explained

by Jack Benyon
4 min read

In the latest of his regular columns for The Race, Haas Formula 1 team principal Guenther Steiner explains the thinking and development behind the team’s new car

Hello everyone. It’s good to be back at the track in Bahrain and to see the car in action.

The car we rolled out this morning is very similar to last year’s, but we’ve modified the floor for the new regulations, and we will put some new parts on for the second day of testing.

But we wanted to use this car to get a baseline for the drivers and then put on some parts that we will use for the first race.

As well as the floor, the bodywork is different because of some changes on the engine side, but it’s not dramatically different it’s just for packaging reasons that we had to change it. But there will be some different parts on during the test.

We did some development when we came back to work last year in September for the 2021 regulations. We will have some smaller new parts hopefully for the second race and then everything is all hands on deck for ’22.

The new parts are mainly to cope with the regulation changes to the floor to make it all work better together, they are not in a specific region, they are all over the car.

The biggest change on this car from last year is the engine. I can’t go into the numbers because I don’t know them, but I was told it is a good step. But you always have to careful about that, because while it might be a big step over last year’s Ferrari engine, I don’t know where the other engines were last year and what they’ve done over the winter too.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Day One Sakhir, Bahrain

But I think they’ve made a good step, and a step in the right direction, but to measure it against our competitors is very difficult – the only time we will actually see it is when qualifying starts.

Testing will be a bit different this year because it’s only three days. On one side the three days is acceptable because it’s not a brand new car – there are a lot of parts that are carried over. It was done for cost control and because it’s a carry over car, but it came for us at the worst moment because we have two new drivers who are also rookies.

It doesn’t help us, but some things you need to do for the sport: there’s no point in us shouting ‘we want more’ because it has been a tough year for everybody financially, even the big teams, so I think it was a good compromise.

Would I rather have six days? Sure, but they are not there and we just need to cope. Are we trying to do six days work in three days? Well, we normally try to do eight days work in six! You always want to do more. There is always more to be tested. If we could test for a month we would still find new things to test, so in the end you just do the most possible.

Not being able to fire the car up until this week hasn’t been a handicap. We actually did all the systems checks back in Banbury but we just couldn’t fire the engine up because we couldn’t get the engineers there with realistic timings. It just took too much time out, so we decided this was how we were going to do it.

And again, because it’s a carry over car a lot of the systems are the same. In a normal year, I would not risk to fire the engine up the day before we are going out to do the first lap.

I did keep an eye on the other team launches, but nothing’s really caught my attention. With all the carry over parts you can try to find some bits which look different but there’s no big revelation in it because you cannot change much. Next year we will all be looking much more at the launches to see if anyone found something special with the new cars!

There’s a lot of livery changes but that’s about it. Talking of which, we have a clear understanding of what the rules are regarding our livery.

With the athlete there is no flag on the car and not on his overalls. We are not dealing with WADA directly, that is through the FIA. There are talks going on. I think Formula 1 is a bit different to other sports – we are not athletes, we are a team and we are not Russian. The sport needs to get these things right – but I don’t think this is a big story.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Day One Sakhir, Bahrain

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