Haas concerned Hockenheim will expose aero weakness


Guenther Steiner admits that the VF-18's aero weakness will cost Haas at Hockenheim this weekend.

Coming off the back of a triple-header that saw the American team reap 32 points and move up to fifth in the standings, the Italian admits some trepidation as he heads to Hockenheim for the penultimate race before the summer break.

"We are a little bit worried about the tight sector of Hockenheim, as it's very slow," he admits. "Then again, we will work on it to do our best.

"For sure, the car is more competitive on high-speed corners," he adds. "It's actually very competitive on high-speed corners. We've had some issues on the slow-speed tracks."

Indeed, it wasn't until the high-speed tracks that formed the sport's first ever triple-header that the VF-18 came into its own, consistently appearing to be the 'best of the rest' after Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

"It's the aero specification we're running," says Steiner. "The majority of the racetracks are not low speed, so our aero people didn't focus too much on that one, but more on the tracks where the majority of the races are held. Aerodynamically, the car is better on high-speed corners.

"Let's see what we can do on Friday to set the car up to get over our deficiencies on the low-speed portions," he adds. "Maybe we'll find a little bit of speed there and still be competitive."

Fuel consumption is also likely to be concern at Hockenheim.

"Yes, we have to do some lift-and-coast, but everyone is in the same boat," he says. "That's something you sometimes have to do anyway to save a little bit with your tires. But on these high-power circuits, we do have to do some lift-and-coast. All four engine manufacturers are very similar in this regard, so it's nothing special, but it's still something we need to look after."

Having made clear that the team cannot continue dropping points, if Romain Grosjean gets his act together in the second half of the season it is entirely possible that the American outfit could be challenging for fourth.

"After testing, we were cautiously optimistic that could be achieved, but it's still a difficult task as all the other teams are very good teams - there is nobody who is uncompetitive.

"There is not really a midfield anymore. It's just the rest. There's the top-three and then the rest. Everybody from fourth to tenth can be competing for points this year, as we've all seen.

"Being fifth, it's nice to be there. After testing it was realistic to think we could be there, but we were very conscious that it would be hard work, and it is hard work, actually.

"With the potential of the car we have shown over the last three races, it is possible to aim for fourth," he says. "If we achieve it or not, that's a different question. I don't want to be arrogant and say we will finish fourth, because by no means is it a given. We are competing with three very strong teams for this position. We will try, we will give it our best and, hopefully, we end up fourth.

"We could have had a lot more points, and we missed out on them," he adds. "We need to make sure that we are not keeping on missing points, because these are the points we will miss at the end to finish fourth."

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Published: 16/07/2018
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