After fresh talk of similarities between the Haas and Ferrari challengers, Guenther Steiner says it is the logical development path.
Haas has held close ties to Ferrari ever since joining the series in 2016, buying in the Ferrari power unit and all other allowed parts from the Scuderia also.
The team then has been no stranger to disgruntlement regarding the relationship, which is at risk of bubbling up again a result of Haas’ first upgrade package for their 2022 challenger, the VF-22.
Haas introduced changes to the floor, diffuser, underbody, coke shape and engine cover, as well as adding an additional cooling exit, all of which has moved the VF-22 closer towards the look of the Ferrari F1-75, both cars nonetheless still unique.
And Steiner, Haas’ team principal, made it clear that since Haas get a big chunk of their parts from Ferrari, it would make little sense to try and go down a totally different development path, especially since Ferrari has established itself as one-half of the leading duo alongside Red Bull.
Steiner explained that the three potential concepts to follow out there are Ferrari’s, Red Bull’s and Mercedes’.
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“If somebody says we copied, I will give him the same answer: ‘what should we have copied, the Williams?’,” said Steiner, quoted by The Race.
“No disrespect to Williams, but it’s a completely different concept and they are behind us.
“If you copy something you copy the best we can and at the moment it’s Ferrari and Red Bull.
“We have got the same engine as Ferrari, the same gearbox, the same suspension – why would we copy anything else? And they are winning races.
“One and one is still two and we are not this stupid.
“There are three concepts out there, the Ferrari concept, the Red Bull concept and the Mercedes concept.
“We are closer to the Ferrari so obviously we are going to see what Ferrari has done and copy that one, but that takes a little bit of time because they had to launch their car then do a few races. Then we had to go into the windtunnel.
“If we’ve got the same concept as Ferrari then we are not going to copy the Williams, obviously. You copy something similar. Therefore it takes a bit longer because you want to see what the other ones do and what works and doesn’t work.
“We are in a good place for where we are supposed to be. We didn’t expect to come out this strong in the beginning [of the season], so let’s try to gain as much as possible and look at what’s out there and see which direction we go in.
“Looking at people and then going in the windtunnel takes some time.”
Haas are the last of the 10 outfits to introduce upgrades for their 2022 car, Steiner having consistently maintained that the team were not going to rush through developments.
He would explain that past experiences have steered Haas down this route.
“We wanted to make sure everything we put on the car is also working with the set-up of the car,” said Steiner, “that we’re not bringing something which we cannot use because we cannot use the set-up.
“It took a bit longer because we were more careful. In 2018 we had a good year, we brought developments and they worked so obviously we got a little bit scared in 2019 and then in 2020 and 2021 we didn’t do any upgrades.
“Now we just said, ‘take it slow and do it as best as you can to make as sure as possible that we don’t end up like 2019’.”
Asked by The Race how heavily the use of Ferrari components dictated the VF-22’s design, Haas’ head of concept design, Tom Coupland, said: “All the rear members of the car. They’ve all got their natural shapes, natural positioning, and as you say that’s given to us by Ferrari.
“So basically, when we’re looking at our bodywork shaping and tunnel work, it has to work with that package.
“Different kinematics for different things will have implications on geometries for the bodywork. It’s part of the parcel from front to rear evolution of aerodynamics.”
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