Steiner: Ferrari F1 engine could be “better" than Mercedes

Ferrari’s new Formula 1 engine could now be better than the Mercedes, reckons Haas team principal Gunther Steiner.

Steiner: Ferrari F1 engine could be “better" than Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, leads Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Felipe Massa, Williams FW40, leads Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-17
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-17
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-17
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-17

With Sebastian Vettel beating Lewis Hamilton to victory in the Australian Grand Prix, rival teams had indications through GPS data over the Melbourne weekend that Ferrari’s biggest step compared to last year had been in power terms.

For Haas, which runs customer Ferrari engines and delivered its best-ever sixth place grid slot at Albert Park, the progress it has seen has left it convinced that Mercedes no longer has the edge, and could even be behind.

“With the engine, there is not just one area that is better, it’s the whole package that has improved from last year,” said Steiner. “It’s now as competitive as a Mercedes engine, if not better.

“Ferrari won in Australia, but everybody is developing and trying to get better. It’s always going to be a development race. They’ve made a good step, and without that help from Ferrari, we wouldn’t be where we are.”

Reliability fixes

Although Haas failed to capitalise on its strong qualifying form in Australia, as Romain Grosjean retired from the race with a water leak, Steiner sees no reason for alarm about the situation his team is in.

“If you’ve got speed, you can get reliability,” he said. “It’s not good not to have it in the beginning, but not to have speed would be much more difficult to fix than the reliability.”

He added: “We are cautiously optimistic. We need to still prove that our performance wasn’t a one-off. It’s very tight in the midfield. On a good day, you could be on top, but on a bad day, you could be at the back. The other midfield teams have shown that this can happen.

“I think we surprised a little bit with our performance, especially Romain qualifying sixth with his lap, which was four-tenths faster than (Felipe) Massa’s. That’s pretty good.”

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