Former Formula 1 driver Christian Danner believes that Haas’ new chassis design can help them return to the midfield fight in 2022.
This comes after the significant changes to the technical regulations as the aerodynamics of the cars change to accommodate for a completely new ground effect-based downforce concept.
The Banbury-based team entered F1 in 2016, and bought a significant amount of parts from Ferrari. They scored five points finishes through Romain Grosjean that season, and ended the year eighth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Danner notes that they have done the same thing this season, and thus suggests that it could propel them up the grid.
“It’s a copy of the Ferrari and moves them from the back to the middle, which is enormous,” he said.
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl is aware that the American team could well be a midfield competitor this season but he insinuated that, while the technical regulations allow for teams to buy off the shelf from other squads, perhaps they should not.
“I can’t speak specifically about Haas and Ferrari But it’s no secret that, in general, these relationships can exist within the regulations. How they are in place at the moment is a concern,” he explained.
Haas have a different line-up this year following the departure of Nikita Mazepin due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, and he has been replaced by the returning Kevin Magnussen.
Newly crowned world champion Max Verstappen acknowledges that his dismissal from Haas to accommodate the oligarch money Mazepin was bringing in was unfair on the Dane, so he is glad to see him reappear in the pinnacle of motorsport.
“I felt sorry for him after the way he had to leave so I’m really happy he’s back,” he told Viaplay.
“It shows that you should never give up and that they respect him a lot after everything he did for them. It’s also good for the team that they get an experienced driver to guide them a little more.”
Lando Norris amusingly described the 29-year-old as a “veteran” recently, and Verstappen believes that Magnussen can utilise his experience to get the best out of the car.
“If it’s reasonable, he can perform just like he did before. He’s also gotten older and wiser and that always helps,” he added.
Mick Schumacher was given a fairly unrepresentative challenge last year having out-qualified Mazepin 20-2, but he is up against a proven racer in Magnussen who, having achieved a podium finish in his very first race for McLaren in 2014, will present a stern test for the German.
The 2020 Formula 2 champion is not at all fazed by this prospect.
“I also have my experience. I know where I stand and what I can do,” he told Sky Germany.
The 22-year-old reveals that he had fecund conversations with the Dane during his test year for the team in 2020, and is thus prepared to go up against him now.
“In 2020 I tested for Haas and spoke and learned from him. It’s even better to have a direct comparison now. I can benefit from that,” he explained.
Haas completed 409 laps during pre-season testing in Barcelona and Bahrain, and appeared particularly competent in the latter, giving fans hope that they can return to the midfield dogfight in 2022.