Haas struggled with the same tire-related issues in the Chinese Grand Prix as it did in Bahrain and has yet to find a fix, admits team principal Guenther Steiner.
Kevin Magnussen qualified in the top six in Bahrain only to fade badly in the race itself. After testing for two days following the second race of the season, Haas was confident it had traced the source of the problem, but after both cars failed to score points after starting in the top 10 in China last weekend, Steiner said the solution remains elusive.
“Same as Bahrain, very similar,” Steiner said. “You could all see it. We went out on new tires when they had heat in them, and it was fine, then going on… that’s it.
“We tried [to make changes] but we didn’t fix it. We understood the problem after Bahrain but we couldn’t fix it in time for here; we still need to work on it. We need to keep on working and try and find a solution to our big issue.”
Explaining the problem in more detail, Steiner said that the cars are struggling to get their tires up to temperature, especially on circuits with a long straight such as in Bahrain and China.
“It’s high-speed tracks with long straights and low energy corners where we can’t get the heat into the tires,” he said. “That’s what it is. In winter testing, even if it was cold in Barcelona, you load the tires a lot, you have energy to put in, you can keep the heat in it. In Australia, the temperature is higher and it was fine. But in Bahrain and China, it just doesn’t work.”
The Haas team principal accepts that it trying to work out ways of rectifying the car’s weakness will be a significant process, with the past two races showing it is unlikely to be a quick fix.
“It’s a combination,” he said. “It’s not vehicle dynamics, it’s combination of everything. You cannot put [it] down to vehicle dynamics. It’s aero, it’s everything, there is a lot of things going on here. Otherwise it would be too easy.
“You go to the windtunnel, you try to find energy to put into the tires in one way or another – aero-wise, brake cooling or brake heating-wise, or vehicle dynamics-wise – but we don’t have the solution at the moment. Once we have it, I’ll tell you how we did it. But at the moment, we need to find [solutions]. It’s not just one thing.”