Haas Formula 1 boss Gunther Steiner says his team’s inexperience was to blame for its failure to beat Renault to fourth place in the constructors’ championship in 2018.
The American team had been locked in a close fight with Renault for the best-of-the-rest spot behind the top three teams in the closing stages of the campaign, and eventually lost out on fourth to Renault by 29 points.
Haas opted to to run a longer development cycle on its 2018 car, the first time it had done so.
But Haas also made a string of mistakes, including a double retirement in the Australian Grand Prix (pictured below), with other incidents such as fragile bargeboard components and early season errors from Romain Grosjean proving costly.
Steiner says that Haas’ own mistakes decided the battle.
“I think it was our own fault that we didn’t finish fourth,” explained Steiner. “It is part of the learning we are in as a team.
“We never have to forget that we are only in our third season. To finish fifth is great – and to finish first of the privateers I would call it, because the guys in front are all works team except Red Bull, which works like a works team.
“There is always this ‘we could have been fourth’. But could and would doesn’t get you anything. So I decided to be happy with fifth.”
Steiner says it was essential that Haas learned from its mistakes.
“For me it is important that if you make a mistake once, it is not OK, but the important thing is you don’t make the mistake a second time,” he said.
“That is when you call it learning.
“Like in the pit stops. We had this disaster in Australia, but we didn’t have one [problem] afterwards, so we are in a good place.
“We just now need to make sure we keep this good place, because the pit stops after Australia were for sure slower than they should have been, but that was the right thing to do until we got our confidence back and our processes back.
“We reacted rightly. No one was there just blaming somebody. We said, ‘OK, we have to better this,’ and we did.
“This is one of the things we got better at this year.
“There are a lot of other things which you guys don’t see from the outside. It is very disciplined.
“I think we did get better because we made a mistake and we decided we are going to fix it and everybody is behind it.”