The 2023 Formula 1 summer break is in full swing, presenting the opportunity to take stock of how each side’s season has unfolded ahead of the season’s resumption.
Lying in eighth place in the Constructors’ table on 11 points following the first 12 grand prix weekends of the season is Haas.
Haas’ VF-23 creation has given America’s sole F1 team a polarising conundrum at each venue thus far. While the car has consistently fared competitively over a single lap, that strength has become a weakness in race conditions as its car shreds trough the tyres quicker than the competition.
Unfortunately for Haas, the points are only given out on Sunday (save for Saturday Sprints), so the issue that has befallen the team is one that drastically needs addressing.
Look at comeback star Nico Hulkenberg’s stats and the issue Haas has becomes evidently clear. The veteran German driver, making his full-time return to the sport after three seasons without a consistent drive, has regularly outshone his Danish teammate Kevin Magnussen in qualifying.
Hulkenberg has made it into the top-10 pole position shootout on an impressive six occasions, compared to Magnussen’s single Q3 appearance in Miami. Subsequently, this means the German has also scored the bulk of the team’s points – nine compared to Magnussen’s two.
However, given the fact that six top-10 starting slots have only yielded one points-scoring finish for Hulkenberg – seventh in Australia, alongside a sixth-place finish in the Austria Sprint – it is clear that Haas is not getting the results that its qualifying performances warrant.
Despite this, Hulkenberg is happy with his comeback thus far, revealing that the “positives’ of qualifying, “outweigh the problems on Sundays”.
“That’s what we’re investigating flat out right now,” he said regarding Haas’ persistent Sunday troubles.
“When we’re alone in free air we’re more or less where we expect to be, it’s when we fall into traffic or when it’s tough on tyres, bumpy, stuff like this, the inconsistencies are too big.”
Amid its ongoing struggles, Team Principal Guenther Steiner has stated that Haas remains committed to bringing upgrades to its 2023 F1 car to combat its ongoing tyre wear issue, despite some teams already starting to shift focus towards next year.
“Upgrades for this season will also be implemented on next year’s car and that’s why we’ve decided to continue with this year’s car development to really understand our problems and where we need to put effort into making the car better for next year,” he said after a pointless showing at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Right now, we’re developing both cars in parallel, and we don’t really know yet when we switch over only to 2024.”
Haas must tackle the balance of juggling car development on its 2023 and ’24 machines during the second half of the campaign, determining the extent to which chasing more points in the latter half of 2023 is worth the potential negative impact on its performance out of the gate next year.