Guenther Steiner says a late rule change caught out Ferrari and did not give it time to prepare as he adds Renault switch unlikely but not impossible.
Not just chassis trouble but Haas had engine issues as well at the back end of 2019 and the current 2020 F1 season, with Ferrari suffering the biggest due to the multiple technical directives handed out late last year, as they have now dropped outside Top 3 places.
While the exact issues with the Ferrari power unit is unclear but it can be linked to the fuel flow as they lost its straightline advantage post the directives. The deal with FIA led to massive furor initially but it eventually died down, even from the rivals’ side.
For now, Haas is slowly improving its chassis but for engine, they can only rely on Ferrari. Steiner reckons that the Italian manufacturer is working towards solving some of the issues – whatever it can amid COVID-19 restrictions – and that, the 2021 unit should be better.
“With the rule specifications at the end of last year, a few things were clarified and that has resulted in Ferrari having a performance deficit,” said Steiner to Sport1 Avd Motorsport Magazine programme. “Ferrari didn’t have the time to adapt the engine to the new rules. These are the explanations I got. We still have patience.
“If the engine is not better next year, there will have to be new explanations. Ferrari is working hard on the new engine. They tell me he will take a big step forward next year. I don’t know how big the step will be and if we will be able to get close to the Mercedes engine, but it should get better,” summed up Steiner.
The Italian stated that he has good relations with Mattia Binotto and that, there is no point barging into his office to demand answers. But looking beyond Ferrari, Haas has only Renault to fall back on, which Steiner reckons is unlikely to happen but is not ruling it out fully because they cannot wait for the Italian manufacturer forever.
“There is a need for discussion, especially when the performance is not there,” said Steiner. “But without Ferrari we would not have made it into F1. So we have to be patient now. But we are sure to put pressure on it to go up again. Because where we are going now is not very nice – and that is to say the least.
“But I think Ferrari will get back to where they want and have to go, but you have to be patient. On the other hand, Renault will no longer have any customer teams next year because McLaren is going to Mercedes. That means Renault would be ready to give us engines. But we also get other parts from Ferrari.
“For example the suspension and the gearbox, and our whole company is designed to buy these parts. Making big changes is almost impossible, especially since there will be a lot of changes in 2022 anyway. Still, you ask around. We cannot afford to continue this for years. But I think Ferrari can do it,” summed up Steiner.
Here’s Guenther Steiner on Haas 2021 line-up
Here’s Helmut Marko sharing latest on engine situation