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F1 | Steiner: investing in developing the VF-21 would be “complete madness”

Haas Team Principal Gunther Steiner explains Haas’ decision to not spend any more financial resources on the VF-21: given the gap to the other teams trying to catch up during the current F1 season would be a waste of money.

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F1 | Steiner: investing in developing the VF-21 would be “complete madness”
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic-Motorlat

Haas has been struggling for a while now, on and off track considering their difficult financial situation. The team only finished in front of Williams in last season’s constructor championship,  securing a rather disappointing 9th place after scoring just three points.

It was 2019 when Kevin Magnussen shared his frustration on team radio “This is the worst experience I’ve ever had, in any race car. Ever!”

And the VF-21 looks no better. It’s essentially a replica of the 2020 car.

“The only development we did was to adapt to the rules for this year so you cannot expect the car to get any better,” Steiner told F1.com

“With the rule change, the car actually got worse as we took downforce away so it’s a case of how little can you do?”

Indeed the opening race of the season, culminating with Mazepin spinning out on the very first lap of his very first GP in F1, was yet another disaster class for Haas.

This is why the Team Principal has no doubts the best decision possible given the tough conditions was arresting development and concentrating every resource on next year.

“On the car, I was always very outspoken because the car is what it is this year. When we started the development in November last year we knew we couldn’t catch up. Why would you waste [money]?”

“The car was bad in ’19, it didn’t get a lot better in ’20 and all of a sudden we invest a year of development in a car that’s only going to do 23 races? I mean that would be complete madness in my opinion.”

“So as everyone knows we need to limit this [spending] but you always try to get the best out of [the car]. You don’t say, 'I don’t want more'."

The team will install some slight updates on the car for the next GP in Imola. Nothing major, just some planned adjustments that were supposed to be there for the first race of 2021.

“We get parts somehow for the car for Imola, because we couldn’t get them ready for [Bahrain] so we did what we could,” explained Steiner.

“At some stage you ask - if you put a big investment in, are we going to be sixth? No. Are we going to be seventh? No. The best we could aim for was eighth and then it’s a case of, is it really worth to invest your future in the next six months and lose sight of the next five years? No.”

Hence 2021 will be a sort of a gap year for the American team, in hopes of climbing back to the middle of the constructor standings.

“For me, yes we’ll be [at the] back this year, but next year hopefully we can - or the aim is to - get back to where we were in ’18 (when they finished fifth overall), not where we were in ’19 or ’20 (two successive ninth-place finishes).”

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