The winter pre-season Formula 1 testing session had started with the Haas presentation event, unveiled shortly before the engines started in the Sakhir paddock one month ago.
In addition to the official presentation of the VF23 challenger and the first photos of the drivers in front of the single-seater, team principal Günther Steiner was obviously also present at the special event.
The manager from Bolzano, three days after that moment, returned in front of the Sky Sport F1 cameras, answering some questions posed by the editorial staff.
The first focused on the objectives set by the team for the 2023 Formula One season, to which the 57-year-old responded by also providing a quick summary of how these three days of testing went before the opening of the world championship, which was held at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir:
“Our season started well, and we did everything we planned before the tests – explained Gunther Steiner – Everything is going well today too, at least up to now, and Hülkenberg has integrated well with the team. However, capturing the current situation is difficult, in the sense that Red Bull in front of everyone, then in our opinion there are Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin immediately behind, with the other six teams who are all close. In any case, it is difficult to predict how things will go throughout the season. Everything will also depend on the type of races we’re going to face, but I can’t establish a ranking. Our goal is to improve on what we did last year to try and finish sixth or seventh – he added – we need to be ready to seize favorable opportunities, like the one that happened in Brazil; the goal remains difficult, because with our own strength we will not succeed, but never say never if a favorable chance should present itself. Who would have said a year ago that we would have managed to get a pole?” – the Haas team principal concluded.
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Objectives that the United States team could still achieve also thanks to the good relationship between the drivers, namely the reconfirmed Kevin Magnussen and the aforementioned Nico Hülkenberg, returning to Formula 1 and promoted in place of former Ferrari Driver Academy member Mick Schumacher:
“The drivers get along well with each other – he commented – they both are very experienced and I hope they don’t do things they shouldn’t do throughout the season, at least between them. We were looking for experience with our drivers, plus I also have a good relationship with them, and I hope I can manage them. I don’t want to take anything away from Mick, but he only had two seasons with us, and to grow the team we wanted to focus on a talent like Nico who had experience especially given the position where we are. He’s been in Renault and Force India when they were in similar positions to us, and he’s always done a good job.” – the Haas boss added.
In conclusion, Gunther Steiner also focused on a possible technical partnership that Haas could discuss with another US company with a rich history in motorsport, Ford, which announced its return to the top series in 2026:
“At the moment we are doing very well with Ferrari, but it is clear that more constructors want to enter Formula One and that means I will have to look around to be able to improve the team, which is one of my jobs – he explained – for now we are very happy of our collaboration with Ferrari, and we don’t need to change, but it is always necessary to look around. Forma 1 is a market that evolves rapidly and continuously, we are an American team with two American sponsors, so the focus always is on the United States. From Ferrari we have no guarantees on the efficiency of the power units for this year, but so far there have been no problems of this kind. They worked hard to have reliable engines because last year was a problem, but I’m confident that this year there won’t be problems like the ones in 2022.” – Gunther Steiner concluded.
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