Haas may not return to 2018 levels - Steiner

"We just have to do better" than 2019


28 February 2020 - 11:37
Haas may not return to 2018 levels - (…)

Gunther Steiner has admitted that Haas may not be able to return to the level of competitiveness the small American team had in 2018.

Last year, hopes were high for another good season, after Haas finished fifth overall in 2018.

But the 2019 car, while often competitive over a single lap, just as often slumped and became one of the slowest cars overall in the race.

Team boss Steiner says he knows Haas must end that trend.

"We don’t have any requirements from Gene Haas in terms of position, we just have to do better," he said.

"The situation of last year was so difficult, for me personally even. If you are one of the fastest ten in qualifying and then last after 20 laps, that is certainly not a pleasure."

However, the 2020 Haas has not appeared to be quick in winter testing.

"We want to return to where we were, even if we don’t do as well as we did in 2018," Steiner continued. "We want to at least perform consistently during a race weekend and of course do as well as possible."

Kevin Magnussen told Ekstra Bladet newspaper that the 2020 car at least feels better than the 2019 one.

"The car has the potential to go very fast and it’s almost hard not to do it because you then destroy the tyres. But that was not the case last year. Then, the car just got slower.

"Now it seems that we can at least handle the tyres. They react differently and there is some learning to do there, but it is a good sign that it is different."

However, he said he doesn’t know where Haas is in the 2020 pecking order.

"The potential is there," said Magnussen, "but we are not one of the big teams that can figure out exactly where we are. In fact, we don’t know at all.

"If we had driven as fast as we could and we were still where we are right now, then we would be nervous."

But it is at least clear that Racing Point, another midfield team, has taken a massive step forward with its new car that is being called the ’pink Mercedes’.

"It’s never nice to see one of your rivals taking a big step like that," Magnussen admitted. "But we don’t know what they are doing with the fuel and the engine power.

"We may be close, but we also may be very far away."

Of the other cars, Magnussen said Williams has been a big mover since the team’s abysmal 2019 season.

"When you consider where they were last year, I would say that they have done some impressive times," said the Dane.

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