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Haas F1 form "a bit of a mystery" at times in 2022, says Steiner

Haas Formula 1 boss Gunther Steiner thinks the team's form was "a bit of a mystery" at times through 2022 as it endured a "rollercoaster" season on and off the track.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22

Haas bounced back from a point-less 2021 to finish eighth in this year's constructors' championship, enjoying highs through Kevin Magnussen's fifth place in Bahrain and his shock pole position in Brazil.

Magnussen's result in Bahrain came despite his late return to the team following the exit of Nikita Mazepin and title sponsor Uralkali after the opening test in Barcelona in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Bahrain result suggested Haas could be in the thick of the midfield fight over the year, but the team often found itself yo-yoing from competing well inside the points one week to battling to make it through Q1 the next, prompting Steiner to label its season as being a "rollercoaster."

Steiner explained that he felt "cautious" about Haas's chances after the performance in Bahrain, but was surprised to see such a dip in form that followed a few races later.

"I didn't expect a fall after a few races," Steiner told Motorsport.com in an end-of-season interview.

"I think in Australia, we had a shit race. I didn't expect that big falloff after the first two races, but it happened. And then you think, now we need to come back. It took us a little bit of time.

"Then we had again Silverstone and Austria, which was very good. That's why I say, [it was] very difficult to predict."

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1

Photo by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images

Haas brought just a single major upgrade for its VF-22 car all season at the Hungarian Grand Prix in late July, but still found itself able to fight with better-developed rivals through the second half of the season.

Steiner noted that some of its strongest weekends, such as at Spielberg and Silverstone, where it recorded double-point finishes with Magnussen and Mick Schumacher, came before the upgrade, only to then struggle for form once the developments were applied.

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Following the Austrian Grand Prix where Schumacher and Magnussen finished sixth and eighth respectively, the team scored just three more points all season: in Austin, when Magnussen finished ninth; and when the Dane finished eighth in the Brazil sprint after starting on pole.

"Where I think it's a bit of a mystery is we didn't have an upgrade in Austria and Silverstone, and we were very fast," said Steiner.

"Then we put the upgrade on, and we were not fast again. And then all of a sudden, we were fast again. These are the things which are a little bit mysterious.

"I wouldn't say we know 100% what it is. It's a combination of things.

"I think once we launched the car, we had a bit of difficulty to find more performance straightaway, or the performance finds were too small to make changes to the car."

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