Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner has admitted to having his eye open for another weekend of strong pace in the midfield coming off the promising performance showed in Melbourne almost two weeks ago.
Speaking before the cars take to track under the desert lights in Bahrain, Steiner settled that although valuable points were lost in Australia due to a wheel nut cross-threading issue on both cars during the Grand Prix, the raw power was still there to fight with for the season.
“For sure, it’s difficult, but that’s racing. I’ve been doing this a long time. There are moments like this, with real downs,” he said.
“The good thing is the car seems to be quick, so you look forward to going to the next race and making sure you do a better job. We still have to go and do it in Bahrain, but I think we’re in a good position do something similar like we did in Australia performance-wise.”
But Steiner, who has been at the team since their debut season in 2016 admits to not practicing enough in the pit lane before the main event.
“As a team, we made mistakes. We had too much work to do on the car and didn’t practice enough. I think the key to all of this is to get the practice in before the race so that we’re prepared for all aspects of the race.
“Last year, in the second half of the season, we had some of the best pit stops on pit lane. We can do it. I think the lack of practice produced the result in Australia. Nevertheless, stuff like this happens. You get over it and move on.”
Regardless of the pitstops, Gunther is “cautiously” ambitious for the rest of the year hinting that consistency can land championship points.
“I was optimistic (in Melbourne), but cautiously. I’m still cautious,” he added.
“One race doesn’t make a full season. We need to be humble and just keep on working hard. We have to try to do the same as we did in Australia, as we did in testing, not lose focus, but just keep on going, and I’m sure we’ll achieve similar results.
“I would say I’m still cautiously optimistic. I would never be arrogant and say, ‘Oh we will do the same in Bahrain,’ but, for sure, we will try to do the same. The car showed speed in Barcelona and Melbourne. There is a point, maybe after China, where we will really know where we are.
“I think the car is competitive. Will it be the same as Australia, compared to the opposition? I don’t know, because I don’t know what they’re doing. Again, I’m cautiously optimistic that it can be done.”
But Steiner has made it clear that recent opinions regarding the questionable relationship between his American team and their engine suppliers Ferrari have been of no “value” to him.
“Everybody is allowed to have an opinion. Some people have an opinion, which I think is based on no facts. It does not have a lot of value to me.
“I think the whole of Haas F1 Team can be proud of the work done between last year and over the winter to produce the VF-18 and get it into its competitive condition. It’s merit to them. They can be proud.
“If people have an issue, fine with me. We report what we are doing, like everybody else, to the FIA. That’s why I’m more than confident we are not doing anything wrong.
“I’m perfectly fine with how we do business. We design our own aero, as per the regulations, and yes, we use mechanical parts from Ferrari, but everybody’s known that for the past two years.
“We are well above board, and happy to be where we are.
“It’s all down to people. Everybody on the team can be proud of what we’ve achieved over the last couple of years, and with what we’re going to achieve this year and next year. We have a good bunch of people who have put us in this position where we look very competitive this year.”
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