Günther Steiner on Haas’ resurgence in 2022: “It was a comeback season”

Haas F1 Team Principal Günther Steiner discussed the excitement of taking pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix, as well as the team’s goals of maintaining eighth in the constructors championship going into the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and extending their forward momentum into the 2023 season. 

“The feeling when we realized that the pole position was done – which was pretty quick after the first six or seven cars came over the finish line because the rain intensified – was just a feeling of satisfaction. For me personally I was so happy for the team as they always put so much effort in. 

“I always say being last is the same amount of effort as being first so hats off to them as they made no mistakes at all during qualifying, it was perfectly executed. The mechanics, engineers and Kevin did a fantastic job on Friday afternoon.”

When asked about the importance of the point Magnussen earned in the Brazil sprint, Steiner said that every point counts in such a tight battle with Scuderia AlphaTauri— who are two points behind in ninth– and that it may be the difference.

“Finishing eighth was not only a point that counts, it’s also that he kept position not only because we knew the top-three teams will overtake us and only one McLaren got past. I’m very proud of what was achieved in the Sprint and I think we could’ve done something very similar on Sunday if Ricciardo hadn’t of taken us out on the first lap. Anyway, here we are and hopefully that point makes the difference, and we can stay in front of AlphaTauri, as that’s what we’re aiming for now for the last race.”

Haas Reserve Driver Pietro Fittipaldi will take the wheel during free practice one ahead of his participation in the post-season test. Steiner said that Fittipaldi will be able to relay extra feedback to the team and get additional practice through his taking part in the session. 

“Pietro has been a part of the Haas family for a few years now and as our official reserve driver we need to put him in the car so at least he can stay sharp in case we need to get him in the car during a race weekend. The objectives are to do a good job and learn about the car – he already knows how to work with the engineers – but to get a feeling of the car and give us his feedback on the car. Additional feedback is always good for the team.”

After what has been a season of great resurgence for the team, Steiner hopes that an eighth place constructors result will become a reality, and that they can continue to learn and grow after a successful year. 

“It was a comeback season after two years being at the end of the classifications of the Constructors’ Championship but what we said last year was that we focus on the future and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve taken a big step forward. It hasn’t been as smooth as we wanted it to be but it’s very difficult in the modern era of Formula 1 to come back from where we were to where we are now.”

“I think the whole team has done a good job to get us to this point and hopefully we finish eighth – fingers crossed! We just need to take lessons from this year – there are a few to be learned – and we adapt for next year, and we will get back even stronger. We know we can do it, we showed again that we can come back and we will come back even stronger next year.”

When asked what his priorities are for the winter break, Steiner said that turning the team’s focus to next season is key. He also mentioned that the off-season will be an opportunity for them to rest and recuperate after a long twenty-two race season, and kick 2023 car development into high gear. 

“To get everyone focused on next year because as much as it sounds strange but when a season like this finishes you just want more of it and want to be better for next year. That will be my priority – trying to motivate everyone to get better, trying to make those who have done 22 races to get a bit of rest and now the pressure is on the people who are preparing next year’s car – designing, developing and preparing. It’s not a long winter anyway and we just need to get ready for the test next year in Bahrain.”

Credit: Andy Hone / LAT Images / Haas F1 Team