Haas F1 endured another difficult race at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, with Kevin Magnussen finishing a distant 13th and Nico Hulkenberg retiring with a suspected drive problem.
The US-based team struggled to make an impact in their third home race of the 2023 Formula One season.
Hülkenberg’s race ended prematurely as he suffered a loss of power and suspected a drive problem. Despite a solid start to the race and an early competitive pace, Haas was unable to sustain the performance, particularly struggling to maintain top speed against rivals such as Williams.
The German’s race was threatened from the outset when he was involved in an incident on the opening lap, forcing him to take evasive action and lose positions. Although he felt the car had more to give, traffic and tyre management issues prevented any real progress.
Cool conditions and car comfort
The cooler temperatures in Las Vegas were a silver lining for Haas as their VF-23 managed tyre wear better than usual. Hülkenberg felt comfortable in the car and Magnussen reported a good pace even towards the end of his stints, suggesting a potential for points.
Magnussen also said: “Our tyre wear was good this time and the pace was right, even at the end of a stint.” In his eyes, both were “enough for points,
“But we didn’t get any points and now we have to look at what we could have done better.”
Team Principal Günther Steiner did not pinpoint any specific mistakes during the race. He praised both drivers for their efforts and felt that the team managed to stay competitive against some of their usual midfield rivals.
“I don’t think we did anything wrong. Both drivers fought hard to get the best out of their cars. I think they succeeded. And we stayed ahead of some of our normal opponents.” said Steiner.
Ralf Schumacher, the Sky pundit and former F1 driver, highlighted a “great deal of tension” within the Haas team. He suggested that a shake-up may be necessary if Haas is to progress. He attacked their current efforts, saying that mere participation was not enough for the current demands of Formula One.
“The question is always what you want. Do you want to be in Formula 1, do you want to earn money and are you willing to accept all that? That would be the Olympic motto: Being there is everything.” said Schumacher.
“If that’s what you want, then I think it’s clear and recognisable that it won’t work that way and that that’s not enough for the current Formula 1.”
The result in Las Vegas adds to the ongoing narrative for Haas F1, where occasional glimpses of potential have been overshadowed by a lack of consistent performance. As the team reflects on the results of their home race, the challenge is to ensure that they do not settle for the back of the midfield, but strive for the restructuring and improvement required to compete effectively in modern Formula One.
Easier said than done of course.
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