Guenther Steiner says George Russell’s French Grand Prix result shows that “determination is worth something” and should provide inspiration for his Haas Formula 1 team.
Haas has slumped down Formula 1’s pecking order in recent years and has not scored a point since last October’s Eifel Grand Prix, when Romain Grosjean classified ninth.
Haas took the decision last year to focus the majority of its resources on the new-for-2022 regulations, modifying its car solely to comply with tweaked 2021 rules, and took on rookie pairing Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
Russell has yet to score a point in Williams colours since stepping up to Formula 1 in 2019 but charged to 12th place in France, in a race where all 20 drivers reached the chequered flag.
Russell’s result came on a weekend in which Schumacher secured a Q2 spot for the first time, albeit partially assisted by the German’s own session-halting crash at the end of Q1.
“George did a good job to put himself in a position to finish 12th and overtake us in the championship,” said Steiner, referring to Russell’s result lifting Williams above Haas.
“But if you take the good thing out, who else thought a week ago or two weeks ago that Williams could finish 12th in front of a Ferrari and two Alfa Romeos and so on?
“So I don’t see any point that we shouldn’t think that we could do that as well.
“Look at the qualifying performance of Mick – everybody was surprised.
“Obviously it did end how it ended, but even on that lap [where he crashed] he was going strong, and a lot of people came to me and said ‘Wow, where did this lap come from, this lap?’ Because compared to the other ones it was a good lap.”
Haas finished the French Grand Prix at the tail-end of the field, with Schumacher 19th, and Mazepin 20th.
Steiner outlined that Russell’s race result should provide a source of encouragement to Haas and its rookie drivers despite its current limitations.
“It gives me also the belief that it can be done if you put a lot of effort in, and George is now in the third year of this situation and he keeps on pushing,” said Steiner. “That means the determination is worth something.
“So I respect what they did because it was done under circumstances when not 10 cars retired, everybody got to the finish.
“But as well it gives me encouragement to tell my guys: ‘Guys, everything is possible’.”