Haas Has Set Itself The Ambitious Goal Of Maybe Keeping Up With Williams In 2021

Illustration for article titled Haas Has Set Itself The Ambitious Goal Of Maybe Keeping Up With Williams In 2021
Photo: Haas F1

The Haas Formula One squad has had a rather inauspicious start to the 2021 season. It didn’t have its chassis updates ready for the first round of the season in Bahrain, so it decided to press on without them, effectively running a low-downforce version of last year’s car with no further changes aside from what was mandated by the 2021 rules change. It was instantly obvious that the team was slow, with handsy shitbird Nikita Mazepin crashing in turn three and Mick Schumacher finishing the race in last place well off the pace.

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The only American team on the grid confirmed during the pre-season test a few weeks ago that it would not be spending any effort developing its 2021 chassis. Aside from a small chassis update to debut ahead of the second round of the season in Imola, the car will remain exactly as-is throughout the year. Instead, the team is focusing its efforts on developing a car to the new 2022 regulations.

After the terrible run in Bahrain, team boss Guenther Steiner admitted he is hardly optimistic about turning anything around in 2021.

“I would say if we can take the fight to Williams that’s about it,” he said.You know, and I am very realistic about that. And we are not putting any effort into doing anything more than that.”

“I think the biggest amount we can get out of the car, to get our drivers prepared or get them prepared better, just get them experience and that is what we want to do so they are ready when we have a better car and that is just how our plan is for this year.”

It’s great to see a half-assed effort representing America in the highest echelons of motorsport. It’s really representative of who we are as a nation. Gene Haas doesn’t give enough of a shit about the team with his name on it to hire anyone competent enough to turn the team around. Steiner, aside from being somewhat entertaining in a curse-laden tirade on that one episode of Drive to Survive, has proven enthusiastically bad for the team, and Haas doesn’t care enough to replace him with anyone who might actually do a good job.

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All credit to Williams, the team has actually shown some interest in turning itself around and giving itself a chance at regaining some semblance of competitiveness. The fact that Haas has sunk to lower lows than 2019 Williams is discouraging. Does the team care about building a quality effort, or just trundling around at the back of the grid collecting checks from Mazepin’s dad and Ferrari? If the 2022 car doesn’t come out of the gate fucking swinging, the answer to that question is going to be quite obvious.

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.

DISCUSSION

mythrenegade
mythrenegade

As I understand it, Steiner approached Haas about creating this team in the first place. And it was going rather well, particularly in 2018 where it went so well the other teams were complaining.

To write off 2021 is the smart approach. The 2019 car was a bad car, and the 2020 car was even worse. With 2021 being a modified 2020 chassis, it’s foolish to be spending money trying to fix it. FAR smarter to spend limited funds on the 2022 car that actually has a chance of being mid pack or better. No amount of legal work on this car is going to push it past 8th. None. Why waste the money?

Because the team cares, they are making the smart move. Sometimes these articles read like you don’t follow F1 at all.