The Haas F1 team have had a mixed start to the season, but are set to introduce their first major aerodynamic package of the season as they bid to challenge for points in Montreal.
With the majority of teams introducing their first big performance updates two races ago in Spain, Haas elected to delay their potential upgrades until the Canadian Grand Prix.
The battle in the midfield is typically intense this season, with Renault and McLaren starting stronger than last year, while Williams have gone backwards. There’s been a lot of frustration for Haas; despite frequently showing enough pace to lead the midfield battle – and causing some rumblings of discontent among rivals about their technical share with Ferrari – they’ve struggled to execute clean race weekend and to maximise their points-scoring opportunities. As a consequence they currently sit a surprising eighth in the constructors’ championship.
Team principal Guenther Steiner said that Haas made the decision to wait until Canada in order to optimise the car that they had, and that there was no initial delay.
“We’ve got quite significant changes,” he said. “Front wing, floor, and all the bargeboard area, we’ve made those updates.
“Obviously, the aim [of the updates] is to go faster, to gain us speed.
“A lot of people brought their upgrades to Spain. We decided to bring them to Canada to have a little bit more time, because we’re still a small team and cannot react as quickly as the big ones.
“Sometimes just getting everything out of what you’ve got is better than to keep on upgrading. And sometimes with the upgrades, you need a little bit of time to make them work. Our upgrades will be coming, so we’re in a good spot.”
Steiner added that he was satisfied with the updates from the Ferrari power unit, which were trialled in Monaco.
“The upgrades in the engines are small because they are so highly developed. To find big gains is very difficult but, for sure, every time Ferrari gives us an upgrade, it is for a good reason, as it has more power.”
Drivers expecting fewer tyre difficulties in Montreal
Everyone was struggling with the tyres in Monaco; Haas endured a difficult weekend, with Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean starting towards the back of the grid and only finishing the race in thirteenth and fifteenth respectively.
Their problems mostly stemmed from being unable to get the new hypersoft tyres into the correct operating window.
“I think it worked as expected in qualifying, even though I don’t think we got the best of them,” said Grosjean.
“We’ve got to get a bit more understanding of them before heading to Canada.
“In the race [in Monaco], I’ve got to be honest, the three different compounds just didn’t work for us. We were just cruising around, not driving, not pushing as hard as we wanted.
“Tire compounds are going to be the number one priority for us to understand with the new package. The circuit is very different. It is much more high speed with much more curb riding, so the setups are quite different.”
Whilst Magnussen agreed that the hypersoft tyre was difficult to ‘switch on’ in Monaco, he believes that the higher-speed nature of the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve will allow the team to use the tyres more effectively.
“I think the hypersoft tire is a good tire, though in Monaco I think it was still too hard – it was difficult to switch on,” said Magnussen.
“Hopefully, in Canada it will be a little bit easier. You’ve got longer straights to put load on the tires at high speed to switch them on.”
All images: Motorsport Images
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