Haas eager for new era after tough year

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the tough season his team has endured makes it especially eager about the prospects for a much more competitive 2022.

New regulations were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so 2021 saw a number of components frozen to keep costs down and help the teams survive, although new floor regulations required certain changes. Haas opted against upgrading its 2021 car in order to put its full resources into next year’s new technical rules, and Steiner says the past 12 months allowed him to prepare two rookie drivers for a better future.

“It was a very challenging, very tough year, but going into it we knew this was coming,” Steiner said. “It didn’t disappoint with the predictions! But in the end we are almost through it and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m very confident we can be where we were before the pandemic hit us. This year was what it was — we couldn’t do a lot about it but we made the best out of it. I think the two drivers developed very well, the team stayed strong, we didn’t make a lot of mistakes.

“That is what we wanted to use this year — to get ready for the future. And we are ready.”

Steiner believes both Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin benefited from the lack of scrutiny on their rookie seasons in an uncompetitive car, where mistakes were not highlighted as much as they could have been had the stakes been higher.

“When you have a situation (like 2021), you always learn more from doing things wrong than doing them right. I wouldn’t say we did anything wrong, we were just in a difficult position and we always tried to get the best out of it, so hopefully it pays off to keep us focused. For sure it was an advantage for the drivers because in the end they had a little bit less pressure.”