Haas still fighting for fourth in the 2018 F1 constructors’ championship

Haas still fighting for fourth in the 2018 F1 constructors’ championship

photo: Haas

The 10 points from the collective result of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen in Belgium allowed the Haas tram to solidify its fifth-place standing in the constructors’ ranks. The squad now has 76 points and trails fourth-place Renault by just six points. Haas team principal Guenther Steiner previews the next challenge – the Italian Grand prix.

What’s most important over these next eight races – maximizing Haas F1 Team’s place in the championship or working toward next year?

“They are both of equal importance. We still want to go for a better position in the championship, which is fourth. We’ll still try hard on that one, as we’ve done a lot of work on the engineering side of things. Nevertheless, everybody on the design and aero teams are working on the 2019 car.”

As the factory shifts focus to next year, do you expect performance to drop off this year or do you expect all the teams around you to be doing something similar to where performance mirrors what it’s been so far this year?

“I don’t think our performance will drop off. Everybody is still bringing stuff to the racetrack – stuff that was designed and developed months ago. We are doing the same. We will not stop here. We’ll bring some smaller upgrades.”

What are some of the more difficult aspects of next year’s car design?

“It’s always with a new regulation, to find the right interpretation, how to get the best out of the regulation in its first year. It’s not a complete redesign of the car. We’ve got a lot of good people, who for sure will try to find big gains with little effort, but everybody else is doing the same. They are all very clever people here in the Formula One paddock. In the end, we will come up with very good performing cars again next year.”

The Italian Grand Prix is a quasi-home race for Haas F1 Team as its technical partner, Ferrari, and its collaborator on chassis development, Dallara, are both based in Italy. Knowing the Haas VF-18’s Italian ties, how important is it to have a strong showing at Monza?

“With Dallara’s headquarters only an hour drive from Monza, I’m sure that a lot of their people will be there. It’s always good to be there because of the passion people have for the racecars. The history of Monza and the passion of the Tifosi give the Italian Grand Prix a great atmosphere, and with it being close to both of our technical partners, we want to do our best.”

How has the technical partnership with Ferrari been and how has it evolved as Haas F1 Team went from designing a car to building it first racecar to building the current-generation car?

“Our technical relationship with Ferrari is very good. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are. The relationship was always good, it’s just easier now as we know each other and everybody knows the expectations. It is a good relationship.”

How does Haas F1 Team differentiate itself from Ferrari?

“We buy the non-listed parts from Ferrari, which are allowed by FIA regulations. What we have to do to be a constructor in Formula One is build our own chassis and do our own aero development. You have to manufacture all your own parts which go with the aero, like the front wing, rear wing, all the bodywork, radiators and chassis – we have to do all that ourselves from design to manufacture. All the parts like suspension, we buy from Ferrari to make it simple, but the rest we have to develop ourselves.”

Explain Dallara’s role with Haas F1 Team.

“Dallara is a contracted engineering company to us. They are the leader in racecar design and manufacturing for all the single-make series with F2, F3, GP3, Super Formula, Indy car – they do a lot of stuff and it would take too long to name them all. They’ve got an infrastructure in place with engineers and manufacturing capabilities. We sub-contract a team of engineers from their pool of engineers to work for us. We buy a lot of our composite parts from them. Their designers design things, but it’s under the leadership of Haas F1 Team and our chief designer Rob Taylor and our aero group with Ben Agathangelou.”

Haas F1 Team has evolved greatly from its inaugural season in 2016. How has Dallara helped in that evolution?

“Dallara is a big part of our team. They were there at the beginning of our team and they still are. With time, the relationship has gotten better and easier.”

How crucial was Dallara and Ferrari in allowing Haas F1 Team to be competitive in not only its first year, but its second year when another new car needed to be built, and this year with an evolution of the 2017 car thanks to rules stability?

“You work on the relationship like you work on technical development. The relationship develops, and you know where you can most efficiently make gains. Ferrari’s been in Formula One for 50 years, so we get their expertise. Dallara’s been building racing cars a long time. They’re good engineers and racecar builders. It all helped us a lot.”

Haas F1 Team’s setup is unique – headquarters in the United States, logistical base in England and car design in Italy. How have you been able to manage it and ensure that three facilities in three different time zones work together?

“Good people! You need to have people that you can trust, and that is the only way to do it. It does include a lot of travelling from my side, but we don’t know any different, which makes it a bit easier for us. We just use technology to talk and it seems to be working. I suppose we could’ve done it differently, but I think that part of our success is that we have the right people in the right places. As of now, it seems to be working, even if it is a lot of work compared to everything being in one place. As long as it continues to work, we will continue to do it this way.”