Haas admits underestimating F1's technical challenges

Gene Haas says he underestimated the technical challenges his Formula 1 team would face when he decided to join the the sport, and admits the situation is a bit "overwhelming".

Haas admits underestimating F1's technical challenges
Gene Haas, Haas Automotion President
Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 Team
Haas F1 Team logo
Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Gene Haas, Haas Automotion President
Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 Team Principal
Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 Team VF-16

The American squad made his track debut last week in the opening test at Barcelona, and surprised with its performance, enjoying a productive week of work in its maiden outing.

This week, however, the team has struggled to get any running done.

Esteban Gutierrez completed just 23 laps on Tuesday before being halted by a problem with the fuel system, and the Mexican has managed just one installation lap so far on Wednesday after being hit by issues with the turbo.

Team owner Haas admitted the technical aspects of running a Formula 1 car have taken him by surprise.

"This is not North Carolina, I've come to realise that," Haas told reporters at Barcelona. "The complexity of the cars and the engines, and what they are doing with them is way beyond anything I have ever expected.

"The technical aspects of these cars are fascinating. I think it's a challenge in one hand. On the other hand, I don't think fans really understand how complex it is.

"Even I didn't know. I was kind of naive too about what makes these cars run.

"If you stumble and you don't get up and try again... You are going to stumble. It's a very complex car, it's a complex way to race cars, so right now it's a little bit overwhelming, to be honest with you."

NASCAR start tougher

Haas claimed, however, that the challenge is not as big as when he set up his NASCAR team nearly 15 years ago.

"We started in NASCAR in 2002, so the first few years were actually quite a bit rougher than what we've experienced here," he added.

"That was building a team without any knowledge. At least here we have some racing knowledge about racing a car. I think we are further ahead that I was when I started in NASCAR.

"This could be a very tough learning process."

Valuable experience

Although Haas concedes that losing so much track time is far from ideal, he reckons the experience of having to troubleshoot the car will actually be helpful for his team.

"We are nervous," he said. "This is very valuable track time, but the good side of it is that it's good time for the team to figure these cars out.

"This is a brand new team, a brand new car, brand new engine package, so the process of actually troubleshooting and taking things apart and putting them back together I think has been very valuable in terms of the experiences that we are going to have."

Staying realistic

Although the team had said before the start of testing that scoring points was a realistic goal this year, Haas says the main goal right now is to be able to run reliably.

"We jumped in with both feet without fully understanding it, but I'm not sure how else you learn unless you just jump in and test the waters, so that's what we are doing right now," Haas said.

"So if people expected us to go out and in the next few races suddenly compete with the big boys I think that wasn't realistic.

"The biggest expectation would be to go to the races and be reliable and not suffered the typical problems you have trying to get one of these cars on the track.

"I think it's maybe a bit more of a challenge than we expected but I think it's just a matter of time.

"I think it's just a matter of learning and learning from our mistakes."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

shares
comments
F1 qualifying: Another U turn as elimination format set for Melbourne
Previous article

F1 qualifying: Another U turn as elimination format set for Melbourne

Next article

Elimination qualifying could be back on for Melbourne

Elimination qualifying could be back on for Melbourne
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021