From Meme to Machine - How Haas Have Recovered Their Reputation

Haas F1 Team

Liam Bewsher

From Meme to Machine - How Haas Have Recovered Their Reputation

Amongst the F1 Paddock, Haas had become a bit of a laughing stock due to the image they painted for themselves on the Netflix series Drive to Survive, however, they are now showing the sort of form that excited the F1 world when they first started their journey in the sport back 2016.

Guenther Steiner comes with bags of experience having originally been part of Red Bull’s journey into F1 as a Techincal Operations Director alongside Christian Horner in 2005 and is perhaps one of the most popular figures down the grid due to his personality.

Haas’ meme status from 2021 shouldn’t override what the team had actually managed to achieve prior to last season, as before the arrival of Nikita Mazepin and the failure of Ferrari to build an adequate engine, Haas had back to back eighth-placed finishes in their first two seasons before moving up to fifth in the Constructor’s Championship in 2018.

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Ferrari’s Engines Started Their Downfall

Following their first three seasons in the sport, Haas’ points tally went from 93 in 2018 to as low as 28, three and zero points in their next three campaigns, although the last figure was partially down to the American team deciding to write off last season to develop a good car for this campaign.

The likes of Alfa Romeo also had similar supply issues with Ferrari, as the Sauber owned team dropped from a points tally of 57 in 2019 with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi to just eight and 13 points in their following two seasons, losing millions of pounds as a result in the Constructors Championship.

So, how does this compare to Ferrari’s performances over these time periods? Well, Ferrari did manage a third-place finish last time out in the Constructors, although it must be considered that they have the biggest budgets in the sport alongside the likes of Mercedes.

In 2019, Ferrari maintained a strong performance, finishing second in the 2019 season which was where their engine was deemed to be illegal which played a large part in their capabilities to go toe to toe with Mercedes and Red Bull.

The Prancing Horse had created a system that pumped extra oil into their powertrain, following this discovery, their points tally dropped from 504 that season to 131 the next, before a drastic improvement of 323.5 points last season.

It is clear to see that Ferrari powertrains are the dominant ones in the sport at present alongside Red Bull’s, as Mercedes continues to struggle to fine-tune their own.

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The Return of K-Mag

The return of Kevin Magnussen was a shock to many, as the Dane had mocked Haas’ initial car release in pre-season, but, he was offered the chance to drive for the American Constructor upon the banning of Russian athletes, impacting Nikita Mazepin whose sponsorship deal of Uralkali had virtually funded the team’s 2021 season.

Mazepin was comfortably the worst driver on the grid last campaign and struggled to get to grips with the physicality it takes to be inside an F1 car and was often nicknamed ‘Mazespin’ as the 23-year-old often struggled to keep the car pointing in the right direction, whilst also failing to compete with Mick Schumacher, finishing ahead of his teammate just three times last season when both cars finished.

Magnussen’s experience has significantly helped the team’s chances, as the former McLaren driver has scored 12 points in two races following fifth and ninth-placed finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, results which Mazepin inevitably wouldn’t have achieved on the basis of his F1 experience.

The 29-year-old’s 12 points have seen Haas rise up to fifth in the Constructors standings, whilst they will be determined to see Schumacher’s true potential in the other car, as the German finished 11th in Bahrain and didn’t start in Jeddah due to significant damage to his car caused by a heavy collision with the barriers in qualifying.

Pressure will be on Schumacher as this is the first time that he has been in a competitive car since arriving into F1 at the start of last season, so it could take the German some time to adapt, but, having shown good pace at Jeddah prior to his crash in qualifying, he will be determined to score his first F1 points next week at Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia.

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