KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 8, 2019) – Focused and determined is the best way to describe Rich Energy Haas F1 Team as it prepares for the 10th round of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship – the British Grand Prix July 12-14 at Silverstone Circuit in England.
Speed in qualifying, where drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen regularly advance to the third and final round, has not recently translated to race pace. This has prevented Rich Energy Haas F1 Team from scoring points in the last three races, which has dropped the fourth-year American squad to ninth in the constructors’ standings with 16 points, one behind eighth-place Toro Rosso and 16 ahead of last-place Williams.
However, the midfield remains incredibly tight, as evidenced by Racing Point being just three points clear of Rich Energy Haas F1 Team in seventh while sixth-place Alfa Romeo sits only six points ahead of Haas. Plus, 12 races still remain on this year’s calendar, providing plenty of point-scoring opportunities, beginning with the British Grand Prix.
The first world championship race was held at Silverstone 69 years ago. Today, the 5.891-kilometer (3.660-mile), 18-turn circuit is the heartbeat of the U.K.’s motorsports valley, with seven of the 10 teams competing in Formula One all within a 90-minute drive of the circuit. This includes Rich Energy Haas F1 Team, with its European base in Banbury just 30 minutes west of the track.
The proximity of Silverstone allows for the Haas VF-19s to be prepared on the shop floor of the team’s Banbury location before being loaded up for the short trek to the track. There, Rich Energy Haas F1 Team’s engineers and mechanics will continue to scrutinize and improve its racecars for the challenge that one of Formula One’s fastest venues provides.
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Rich Energy Haas F1 Team
The season has been a challenging one for the team, especially these last two races. Is the challenge with the car replicating the issues you’ve endured, or is it a matter of just finding a consistent form from practice to qualifying to the race?
“It’s a mix of all of it. We need to understand why we have these deficiencies between qualifying and the race, then we can work on it. At the moment, we’re in search of that issue.”
Does the British Grand Prix being a home race provide an opportunity for the team to get its racecars back into the shop and allow for a deeper dive into the data you have to better understand why the Haas VF-19 is performing the way it is?
“It’s always good to be back at your base where you can work on the car better, but from the data side there is no difference. Wherever we are in the world, we can do the same job.”
Despite the results, a massive amount of time and energy is being invested by team personnel into finding a solution to better the car’s performance. You wear many hats as team principal – is your most important role keeping the team motivated and focused as they prepare for the British Grand Prix?
“It’s all of it. I need to keep them motivated to find our performance issues. It’s part of my job to do all of the above.”
You’ve been in motorsports a long time. It’s not an easy business. Have you endured anything similar to this in your career that is relevant now, at least when it comes to diagnosing problems, finding solutions and ultimately, returning to competitive form?
“More than once I’ve encountered this problem. I wouldn’t say it’s normal, but it’s part of the job. You always have to keep on doing a better job, but there are setbacks. It’s very competitive, especially Formula One. At the moment, we are a little bit on the back foot. I’m sure we will get back to where we want to be.”
The British Grand Prix is a home race for the majority of the Formula One industry, yet its future at Silverstone remains a bit uncertain. Whether it is from a historical perspective or a logistical one, do you view Silverstone as one of those iconic Formula One venues that needs to remain on the schedule?
“It is iconic and it’s a very good grand prix to go to for obvious reasons. A lot of teams are from near Silverstone, so it’s a home race for many. But then again, despite being iconic, it cannot stay there if it doesn’t make financial sense. It needs to make financial sense for them and for Formula One and the teams – then we can stay there. We all love it, but there is a cost to it.”