Formula 1

Guenther Steiner Opens Up About Haas’s 2023 Challenges: Lessons from a Season of Late Decisions

In a revealing interview, former Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner disclosed his regrets about the late upgrades to the VF-23 during the 2023 season. This introspection follows closely after the announcement of his departure from Haas.

Key Takeaways:

  • Delayed Upgrades: Steiner acknowledged the lateness in implementing upgrades to the VF-23, admitting that the team clung to an outdated car concept for too long. This delay in embracing change was a significant misstep in the team’s strategy.
  • Comparison with Rivals: Haas’s delay in moving away from obsolete designs stood in stark contrast to teams like Ferrari, who were quick to adapt. This hesitation put Haas at a competitive disadvantage, highlighting the importance of timely responses in F1.
  • Impact on Performance: The delay in upgrading and evolving the VF-23, as per Autosport sources, significantly contributed to Haas’s struggles, especially with tyre issues. The major overhaul of the car came much later than that of their competitors, adversely affecting the team’s overall performance.

During his candid interview with Autosport, Guenther Steiner reflected on the team’s challenges and his personal regrets about the decisions made during the 2023 season. He stated, “Absolutely, it [the upgrade] was a little bit late. I would say, if I could go back, that’s what we should have done [made the car changes earlier]. Obviously now with hindsight, it’s obvious. I mean, it was change, but then it was not enough time anymore to do it good. When it was discovered that there was no performance in the old [in-wash] concept anymore, obviously as you said Ferrari, they changed quicker, and we tried to hang on maybe a little bit too long to the old concept.”

This acknowledgement of delayed decision-making is crucial in understanding Haas’s performance issues in the 2023 season. The team’s inability to address the tyre-chewing problem in races compounded their challenges, with significant upgrades like sidepod modifications and engine cover bodywork arriving much later than necessary.

Steiner’s exit from Haas signals not just the end of his tenure but also a pivotal moment for the team. His tenure was marked by both achievements and setbacks, but it is his reflections on the 2023 season that provide crucial insights. These insights, particularly around the importance of timely adaptation and decision-making in the dynamic world of Formula 1, are lessons that Haas and other teams can learn from as they navigate future seasons.

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