Steiner admits Haas ‘may have to write off’ first day of testing in Bahrain

Haas' cargo was left stuck in the United Kingdom after the plane that was due to carry it to Bahrain broke down in Turkey.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has admitted that they will likely miss the opening day of testing in Bahrain this week due to an issue transferring their cargo to Sakhir.

The team’s cars and other important equipment were left stranded at Doncaster airport after the plane that was supposed to come and collect everything to take it to Bahrain broke down in Istanbul.

It is now expected that the team’s cargo will be taken to Germany, where they can then be collected and taken to the Middle East.

“According to our information, it should now be flown to Leipzig and from there to Bahrain,” said a report by Auto Motor und Sport.

There are only three days of testing in Bahrain as there were in Barcelona, but this close to the season it is expected that the teams are going to get a much more realistic understanding of their performance.

It is therefore imperative that everyone gets as much track time as they can, but Steiner admits that they may have to “write off” day one.

“We may have to write off the first test day. All the other teams have a two-day lead in preparation over us,” he said.

These events follow on from the loss of Nikita Mazepin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leading the Banbury-based squad to drop name partner Uralkali due to Dmitry Mazepin – Nikita’s father and part owner of the Russia-based firm – having close links to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Gene Haas ultimately had to cut ties with the company, and therefore the money that paid for the young Russian’s seat.

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“There was a lot of intense criticism about the Ukrainian invasion and it was just getting overwhelming,” he told the Associated Press.

“We can’t deal with all that, our other sponsors can’t deal with all that.”

The issue now remains as to who will fill the vacant seat and, while Pietro Fittipaldi will take part in the Bahrain test, Haas would like to explore other options ahead of the first race of the season at the Sakhir International Circuit.

“We’re in the process of looking at several candidates, we’ll see who is available and what we have to deal with, but we’ll have somebody by Wednesday,” he explained.

“Pietro will definitely be in it, that’s what he’s for, he’s the test driver.

“I think we’re looking. I think we’d obviously like to get someone with a bit more actual experience.

“We just have to see what’s available.”

Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri and current F2 driver Jason Daruvala have also been linked with the drive, but journalist Sergio Rodriguez recently told us that Fittipaldi “will start the season.”