The shutdown is one of the best things F1 has done, Haas...

The shutdown is one of the best things F1 has done, Haas Steiner says

Guenther Steiner, Haas
photo: Haas

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner previews the 12th round of the Formula 1 world championship – the Hungarian Grand prix.

With a run of three-straight grands prix, along with this back-to-back set of races in Germany and Hungary, how important is the upcoming summer shutdown for team personnel?

“I think this year, more than ever before, it is quite important. You’re not allowed to work, so you don’t try to do anything. The shutdown is one of the best things F1 has done because people have something to look forward to in the middle of the season. Otherwise, it’s a never-ending drill. Everyone is putting the last little effort in before the summer shutdown, and then they go for two weeks and, normally, we all come back a little refreshed. I think it’s important, and I also look forward to it.”

What do you do to prepare for the shutdown so that you’re ready to go for Belgium and Monza, which immediately follow the shutdown?

“We are now in our third year. We are well prepared, well organized. The guys strip the cars, get everything ready, so when they come back after shutdown, they just need to put the car together again. The engineers, they do all the post-work after the race before they go on shutdown, then they start again as soon as it’s over to prepare for Spa.”

What do you do for your own well-being and self-preservation during the summer shutdown?

“As little as possible. I go back to Italy, where I come from, and try to do very little as I’m not allowed to work.”

What are your expectations for Hungary? Does the tighter track pose more of a challenge for Haas F1 Team?

“Let’s wait and see on Friday in Hungary what we are capable of doing. I never go in beaten to a race already. We know what happened in Monte Carlo. We analyzed that one and we know where we ended up. Now, we know the reasons, and they will not happen in this race. We might not be as good as on the high-speed tracks, but I don’t think we’ll be really bad. We knew what went wrong in the races that went wrong for us.”

“We’ve got a lot of talented people who can analyze all that and do better. How much better we can do, I don’t know. For sure, we are not going in beaten, saying we cannot achieve anything here. Our car, and our drivers, are good enough to get good results at all the tracks. Some are better than others, but nothing will hopefully be as bad as Monte Carlo.”

A lot of grip, a lot of braking and a lot of high-energy demands all conspire against tires at the Hungaroring. What do drivers need to do to manage the tires and get the most out of them?

“You need to get your brake package in the right window so you’re not putting too much energy into the tires from the brakes, and the driver just needs to always see that he gets them in the window, especially in qualifying, so when you cross the finish line for your fast lap, you have the right temperature in them.”

Budapest is typically very hot – how does the high temperature affect tire management?

“Tire management is so different from racetrack to racetrack. You cannot compare one with another. You always have to learn again and apply what you know to each different track. Conditions change. In Hungary, it’s known as normally being very hot, but sometimes it isn’t too bad. Silverstone was never as hot as this year, and I think we performed well. We just need to adapt to the track surface and to the temperature when we get there. This year, we are a lot better prepared than previous years.”

Haas F1 Team seems to have made great headway in understanding the tires and how the various compounds work. How has the team made these strides?

“It’s just having more experience, and having filled the position we didn’t have before of the tire engineer, and time. Experience comes with time, and you cannot buy time. So, some things take a little bit longer. By no means are we perfect yet, but we are a lot better than last year. We can be even better, like some teams are better than us, but for sure we are not the weakest ones in the field now on tire management and tire understanding.”