HaasF1 team principal Gunther Steiner feels recent grand prix struggles show where the squad’s inexperience has hurt its Formula 1 chances.
Following a superb start to its debut season in F1, with Romain Grosjean sixth in Australia and fifth in Bahrain, it was back down to earth in China with both cars a considerable distance outside the points.
In Russia, another problematic weekend was salvaged by Grosjean’s eighth place in the race, leaving Steiner to recognize that with the team still in its infancy there is ample room for improvement.
While citing Grosjean’s result as “fantastic,” Steiner said Haas’s difficult start to weekend showed where its lack of experience and data relative to the competition was having an impact
“Again it shows if we get it right the car can do it and the driver can do it,” he said. “The main thing is now we need to get more data to get better and better. We need to be better as a team to react to special situations.
“In Russia, the track is special as it’s very slippery and low grip. Once you have the experience you know how to react. At the moment we don’t have the experience to put it together, but once we have that we should be able to react quicker and to get a better setup for qualifying.
“It will take a little bit of time to have that all ready. The youngest team [ahead of Haas] is five years old; we are four races old, so I think they have got a little bit of an advantage over us which we can never make up. But we work hard, everybody works hard and tries to do their best and that’s what gets you the points.”
At present all of the team’s 22 points have come from Grosjean, with teammate Esteban Gutierrez still to get off the mark on his return to F1. Steiner feels the Mexican has so far been unfortunate.
“I think he has had quite a few unlucky circumstances, but it’s getting better,” he said. “At the start [in Russia] he had a little bit too much wheelspin and then ran into [Nico] Hulkenberg. What can you do?
“In qualifying he was just a little bit behind Romain, and he’s doing a good job for the team.”