Haas team boss Guenther Steiner hopes Formula 1 learns the lessons offered by the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to work together going forward.
Significant progress has been made in the sport during the current hiatus, such as a reduction in the cost cap set to be introduced from 2021.
Other changes have also been pushed through for the betterment of the sport, including restrictions to aerodynamic development allowances based on a team’s position in the championship.
The current atmosphere of co-operation among teams is in stark contrast to the usual state of affairs, which former McLaren boss Ron Dennis famously described as the ‘Piranha Club’.
“I hope that none of us will forget the difficult time that we had in the last four, five months, so we don’t forget that at any time that we can be back in the same position,” Steiner said during an Instagram Interview with F1 Experiences.
“I think everybody came together and agreed that we have to work together.
“I think the 10 teams that we have now are all pretty good.
“Some are in better financial shape than others and all in a respectable financial position, but I think we got together a lot between us Team Principals and let’s hope it stays like this.
“We will have our fallouts again but as long as we are principled we will stay together and that will be a big step forward.”
For Steiner, the introduction of a cost cap is a significant piece of the puzzle.
Haas operates to a somewhat unique business model, sourcing much of its car’s components from Ferrari while even the car design is outsourced to Dallara.
Despite being owned by billionaire Gene Haas, it operates to a significantly smaller budget than the leading teams.
According to Steiner, the cost cap will not eliminate that difference, but make it more manageable.
“For us, I would like to see it (the cost cap) a little bit lower,” he reasoned.
“Before our gap to the big teams – a small team to a big team – was about 100 to 150 million (dollars); now it’s 20 million. We’re in much better place.
“I think it’s better for everybody involved in the sport because it should in the midterm, not in the short term, bring the teams’ competitiveness closer together,” he added.
“I say not in the short term because the resources the other teams can put in now are so much higher, they have so much knowledge.
“For a few years they can keep that advantage but it will close up rapidly so I hope, I’m convinced, going forward, this is a big step and I can very much live with the amount that has been given to us.”
Guenther Steiner : Upgrading Haas’ F1 car throughout 2020 will be ‘very difficult’
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says it will be ‘very difficult’ to upgrade Haas’ VF-20 car this year due to the unknowns of the 2020 Formula 1 calendar.
The opening eight races of the season will take place across ten weeks, with the maiden event getting underway on the first weekend in July in Austria.
However, the number of races beyond the first eight has not yet been decided. F1 is targeting 15 to 18 grands prix despite seven venues (Australia, the Netherlands, Monaco, France, Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan) already cancelling their events in 2020.
Factories have only recently re-opened following the end of the mandatory shutdown implemented by the FIA, allowing teams to prepare their cars for Austria.
Speaking to F1 Experiences, Steiner says that car development this year will be a challenge, as the unknown number of races is not giving Haas a clear indication over income.
“It will be very difficult this year, sometimes you just have to do the best with what you’ve got,” he said. “At the moment, we can’t really define our budget and how much we can do in development because we don’t know how many races we’ve got.
“It’s not knowing that you don’t know the expenditure, it’s not knowing the income. So we need to wait for that one to make our final budget and then we can decide what we’re going to do with developments and so on.
“It will be very difficult for us, but we are aware of it and we’ll try to do the best and sometimes you just have to man up and say maybe this will not be our shining year, but we will make a solid job, try to entertain the people and make the best out of it.”
Guenther Steiner ‘open’ to new circuits on 2020 calendar
F1 is in talks with various circuits regarding a 2020 grand prix, including some that were not originally on the F1 schedule.
Among the rumoured tracks are Mugello and Portimao, while Hockenheim, which has hosted races in a scattered pattern over the last number of years, is in the frame to return to the calendar.
Steiner says he would be open to any new tracks joining the calendar, as it would bring new excitement and a fresh group of fans.
“I heard about Portugal, I’ve never been in Portimao. I don’t know the race track, it’s something new so it’s exciting. It’s like the 2022 regulations, it’s new, let’s get the new experience in,” Steiner said.
“We’ve been in Hockenheim, Hockenheim always puts a good race on. But I don’t know at what stage these negotiations, if there are negotiations, are [at].
“So we just have to wait until F1 makes their decision where we go next after the eight races that were announced. But I’m open. Each new country we go to, it’s always good for the fans as well.
“There is something new, new people get access to it. Hopefully, we can open up to spectators when we get to later on in the year. But even on TV it’s nice to see something new.”
GUENTHER STEINER : WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER – GUENTHER STEINER : WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER
F1 2020 NEXT RACE
|GP of Hungary||19July 2020|
|10h00 - 11h30||Free practice 1|
|14h00 - 15h30||Free practice 2|
|11h00 - 12h00||Free practice 3|
|14h00 - 15h00||Qualification|
|14h10 - 16h10||Race|
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