Kevin Magnussen says Haas is targeting gaining a “better development trajectory” from the upgrades it will debut at the United States Grand Prix next month.
Haas’ campaign has been stymied by a VF-23 car that excessively degrades its tyres, resulting in the team having been able to consistently convert strong qualifying showings into regular points hauls.
The American outfit currently languishes eighth in the Constructors’ Championship with 12 points, nine points adrift of Williams and two clear of Alfa Romeo behind.
Despite Haas continuing to struggle, Magnussen, who brought an end to the team’s five-race barren run without a point in Singapore, says it will not be writing off the season with only six rounds remaining.
“There’s also more to lose,” he said. “We’re P8 right now in the Constructors, we could be P10. We have something to fight for, there’s no doubt about that.
“We’re chasing Williams for seventh, but we see how strong they are, and it looks difficult to catch them, but then the target becomes to hold onto P8, and that’s why it’s so satisfying to get that one point, because where we are with Alfa Romeo it could be very important.”
Haas will be boosted by the addition of a substantial upgrade package in Austin that will see it become the final team to convert to the ‘downwash’ style sidepod solution pioneered by World Champions Red Bull.
However, Magnussen contends that the Kannapolis squad isn’t expecting immediate performance gains from its revised car. The Dane reasons that it is instead bidding to avoid the development limitations that it has encountered with its current concept.
“I don’t think we’re actually expecting to take a big step with the upgraded car, but what we’re really hoping is to open the gate to more performance, to have better development trajectory,” he explained.
“We kind of hit a wall with this car, we weren’t finding stuff in the wind tunnel, hence why we didn’t bring upgrades to this car, so we’re hoping to punch a hole in the ceiling that we’ve kind of hid with this car and go in a different direction and hopefully find more performance down the line.”
He added: “Secretly I’m hoping that we are going to take a step forward and the last five races [are] brilliant. But of course, we gotta be realistic and keep expectations realistic.
“Nonetheless, it’s going to give us an opportunity to have a look in real life at this concept of car and hopefully that will be useful in the development of next year’s car as well.”
Providing the updates do arrive in time for its second home event of the year, Haas will only have five races to learn about its modified car before the season concludes.
Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner admits the team will be in a race against time to get a grasp on the updated VF-23 ahead of defining its direction for next year.
“Absolutely, and we had very little time to develop it,” he told Autosport.
“And when we decided we do it, we were wide open just to bring it to Austin to have as many races as possible.
“I’m not just trying to be careful. I’m just saying hopefully it works, and it gives us what we think it gives. And if it doesn’t do that one it does the other thing, helping us for next year.”