Guenther Steiner agree that customer F1 teams suffer if problems occur with their supplying outfits but is not stating that Haas is only having issues due to Ferrari.
In F1 jargon, Haas is known as a customer team. That is to say that they outsource certain components of their car, such as their power unit, or other parts as specified by the regulations of the sport.
This has both advantages and disadvantages, as most things do, and one such disadvantage can be the penalisation of your team for poorer performance on the part of your supplier. Red Bull’s numerous DNFs over the course of the 2017 and 2018 F1 seasons, or McLaren’s suffering at the hands of Honda are some examples.
To put it simply, a customer F1 team – no matter how good at what they do – can be let down by, and will forever remain at the mercy of, their engine supplier. And some have argued that Haas, currently sat ninth in the championship, are one team suffering from the poor delivery of another: Ferrari.
Haas are indeed supplied by the Italian F1 outfit, who have also created an undeniably lackluster power unit. So, to say that they are being disadvantaged by their supplier is a fair argument. However, in the eyes of team boss Steiner, this is not necessarily representative of the whole picture.
Steiner did not refute claims that the Ferrari unit is holding back their car more so than the chassis and/or aerodynamic design might be, but he also was also not wholly on board with the statement that their business model was consequential in this case.
“It’s difficult to say how much it is following [the struggles of Ferrari],” said Steiner to media including Racefans.net, Motorsport Network, AMuS, BBC and more. “I’m sure you know the opinion about the PU in the moment – [that] Mercedes has got a very strong PU, so for sure that aligns with our one from Ferrari.
“It goes in parallel. I think it will always go in parallel because the main factor of the collaborations is in the PU because aero obviously we can not work together, we can not copy it or we didn’t copy it. But for sure you always go with the trend of the senior [aka supplier] team, as you called it, [that] you’re aligned with,” summed up Steiner.
There was the statement that the poor performance of Williams – a Mercedes-powered team – disproved that a PU could sway the pace of a team in any highly meaningful way, to which Steiner said: “I don’t really know how Williams does it. And I think you all know by now how Racing Point does it. But we always had this trend. Look at Alfa Romeo, their business model is as well a little bit different than ours and it goes back in parallel as well.
“So I would say a big factor in this is the PU. But then, I don’t know how Williams is doing it, how good their car is. I have no idea and I have no idea do they get the same engine? I don’t know. I just can not speak for Williams,” summed up Steiner.
Potentially, the banning of variable engine modes – something expected to hamper Mercedes – could bring them closer to the rest of the mid-field pack. It is not yet certain when it will be implement, the talks were on for Spa but it could be pushed to Monza.
“I think what you can believe is like the next race or so, there is a change in the engine regulations, hopefully,” said Steiner. “And as I said before, again, that maybe makes some difference or should level everything out a little bit. And the rest, we just try always to get the best out of the car with the setup.
“That’s the only thing we can do in the moment. I’m very, very conscious of that one. And that we will continue to do, to understand more also for next year. We can define what we want out of the car for next year, when we do some development once we know the regulations for next year,” summed up Steiner.
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