Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen insist that the debut of Haas’ revised car at last weekend’s United States Grand Prix delivered a “positive” initial impression.

Having conceded that its previous concept had hit a development ceiling, Haas became the final team to convert to the downwash sidepod solution at its home race in Austin.

After a suboptimal qualifying session on Friday, Haas elected to withdraw both cars to the pit lane for the race in order to conduct further set-up changes on its updated VF-23.

While Haas was unable to add to its points tally on Sunday, Hulkenberg believes the American side’s heavily upgraded package already provided a noticeable step forward.

“Obviously, Sprint weekend, so not an easy one for us,” he reflected. “And then obviously, we decided to do some big set-up changes and opted for the pit-lane start which obviously, made life a bit harder for the race. But in hindsight, it was the right decision.

“We were more competitive on Sunday. And I think that was the first time and the first day where some positive signs and steps were seen.

“I think, in terms of tyre management, this was one of the best races in a while for us. So, still exploring, still finding out and learning more about the package. And I hope there’s more to come as we go. But it was it was positive, let’s say.”

Magnussen previously warned that Haas was targeting getting on the right development path for next year over immediate improvements with its new car.

The Dane’s comments came amid the Kannapolis squad being compromised this year by the existing homologated crash structure around the side of the monocoque.

However, Magnussen has concurred with Hulkenberg’s view that he has recognised instant progress towards rectifying some of the team’s long-standing weaknesses.

Magnussen added: “I think there were some interesting and positive signs with the upgraded car. It’s a compromise, it’s not just a better car. We knew that; it’s not a surprise.

“On paper, we knew there wasn’t going to be a big lap time improvement, but we were hoping that some of the characteristics, some of the traits and weaknesses that we’ve seen all year were changed by this upgrade.

“And I think we saw some positive signs that it’s addressing some of these weaknesses.”

Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team. 26.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Preparation Day.

Haas’ campaign has been stymied by tyre degradation woes preventing the team from converting a plethora of promising starting berths into more regular points hauls.

Asked whether the post-race data showed Haas had made improvements in that area against its rivals, Magnussen said: “I think so, but we have to do a bit more races to feel confident that it actually is better.

“I think we saw some improvements in low-speed performance, but then we took a big hit in high-speed performance, so that’s a trade-off and a compromise that you’re making. But we need to run more and see whether the trend continues.”

The Haas duo remain wary of the challenge awaiting the team this weekend in Mexico as it bids to utilise the conventional weekend format to learn more about its upgrades.

The unique nature of the high altitude present at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez places “extreme” demands on the cooling of the cars, particularly in the race.

“We’re coming here to a pretty low-speed track, but the ambient pressure and because of the altitude you run the car in a very different configuration with the cooling,” Magnussen explained.

“And the cooling you need to run here is pretty extreme. Perhaps we take a little bit more of a hit with that as the new aero package doesn’t have as broad a spectrum of cooling options.”

“I mean, it’s obviously a quite different circuit here, different circumstances, you know, the usual Mexico challenges here with cooling, for car, for brakes, the thin air,” Hulkenberg added.

“It’s always challenging, every year. But it’s just about, you know, maximising our package and putting the best car possible on the track.”

Source:  Read More 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *