‘How do you react to that?’ Guenther Steiner hits out at the FIA

Haas had a mixed 2022 season, with the American side improving considerably on 2021 but suffering from a lack of consistency.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has admitted that the Americans’ ‘momentum’ was staggered in 2022, with the side having started the season so strongly, before going off the boil.

In his returning F1 season after being dropped by Haas at the end of 2020, Kevin Magnussen claimed three points finishes from the opening four rounds of the season, something which saw the Americans tipped as one of the top teams in the midfield.

This title quickly disappeared, though, as a five-race point-less streak followed the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and was only ended with a double points finish for Magnussen and Mick Schumacher at the British Grand Prix.

At the following race in Austria, the pair achieved another double points finish, before another long point-less streak followed.

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The North Carolina-based outfit went seven races before they claimed their final points finish of the season, which came in the Sprint race at the Brazilian Grand Prix, a race that Magnussen sensationally started on pole for.

Steiner doesn’t believe the team’s pace was unsustainable, with it more being down to a loss of momentum.

“No, I wouldn’t say it wasn’t sustainable,” Steiner told GPFans.

“We started very well and then, for one reason or another, we lost a little bit of momentum. You can say, there was not one thing that was wrong.”

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The American side would’ve claimed more points during 2022 had it not been for a rough relationship with the FIA, with Magnussen having been shown the black-and-orange-flag several times when in a competitive position.

The damage Magnussen had on the occasions wasn’t something that really required a change. Something the governing body admitted after changing their approach to the rule towards the end of the season.

This was extremely frustrating for Steiner and the team, especially as they would’ve scored more points had the FIA not been as overly strict.

“How do you react to that?” Steiner questioned.

“And then, by the way, after 15 races it was decided not to use it [the black-and-orange flag] anymore, so it was things like this.

“Then a few times, with the strategy, we didn’t do the right thing. Sometimes we were also a little bit off with the setup, with this bouncing effect.

“It was up and down. It was not just down because then we came back just before the summer break, and after the summer break we had a few good races.

“Put it this way, compared to last year [2021], we made a good improvement.

“But did we get everything out of it, what was available this year? By no means.

“When you are two years behind, you just need to again get used to being in this position.

“It’s a weird thing, and then you plan and you try not to make mistakes but it takes some time that it gets all natural.”

Eighth spot in the Constructors’ Championship and 37 points is still a considerable improvement compared to 2021, a year which saw the Americans finish last on zero points.

Magnussen’s pole position at Interlagos was understandably the team’s 2022 highlight, with Steiner labelling the team’s performance that damp day in Brazil as “perfect”.

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“The job we did in qualifying in Brazil was perfect,” added Steiner.

“What can you do differently? Nothing.

“It should be like this all the time but it’s not achievable. It’s just for us in a moment.”