Latest Episode | Cut To The Race Podcast
How do you think Haas did in the 2022 season? Read on for a complete analysis of how Haas did this season.
This may sound harsh, but, if Haas ended up in the points just once in 2022, their season would be considered good. Especially when compared to their 2021 season. Haas didn’t just get in the points this season though, they got in the points consistently. This year Haas finished eighth in the constructor’s championship with 37 points. An obviously huge step forward from 2021.
If you consider how Haas’ year started, many wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t perform. Amidst the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the FIA banned Russian and Belarusian drivers and subsequently, Nikita Mazepin was dropped.
There was a frantic rush to get another driver as pre-season testing was about to commence. Steiner called their old driver Kevin Magnussen who rushed to pre-season testing and jumped straight into the car. This is where the highlights of the season started for Haas. Kevin Magnussen was granted an extra hour of testing in Bahrain due to his late arrival and set the fastest time. This was obviously due to the track being grippier amongst other factors, however, it was a positive moment going into the season opener.
As mentioned, Haas going fastest at testing was a highlight right off the bat. What followed was even more incredible. Magnussen, who had barely been in an F1 car all year, qualified in P7. In the race, Magnussen drove an absolute blinder and brought it home in fifth. FIFTH! After a whole year out of the sport, the man who had only a handful of hours in the car came fifth. It was incredible. Bahrain was a great race and this was one of the many reasons.
Magnussen gave everyone another show at Imola. During qualifying, he had looked very quick and there was potential for a very decent result. Suddenly, however, Magnussen lost control of the car, spun off, pretty much beached it and came inches from the barrier. He somehow saved the car from getting hit or beached, got going, and qualified in fourth. It was a heroic display.
Having already secured points in the first race of the season, Haas has taken perhaps the biggest step forward in the field from 2021 to 2022. Magnussen was shining. However, Schumacher was not. Still pointless after the opening nine rounds of the season, he’d come agonisingly close in Australia and there was potential in Miami before a costly error.
His first F1 points finally came at Silverstone, finishing P8 and gaining four points for the team. He also put up an impressive fight against Max Verstappen who eventually got the better of him. With Magnussen bringing his car home in P10, the American team secured their first double points finish in almost three years.
Austria provided a second consecutive double points finish for Haas. After failing to score in the first 31 races of his F1 career, Schumacher was able to score in back-to-back rounds. The German taking the Chequered Flag in P6 with Magnussen two spots back in P8.
Haas had a few more points finishes after Austria but nothing worthy of a ‘highlight’. That was until we got to Brazil. The penultimate race weekend was a sprint one so qualifying took place on Friday evening. Magnussen had made it into Q3 whilst the rain clouds grew closer and got darker. Early into Q3 Russell pushed too hard in the treacherous conditions and beached his Mercedes.
In doing so he brought out the Red Flag and the top time at that moment belonged to Magnussen, courtesy of the Danish driver setting the first flying lap time. After the red flag was over conditions were so poor that there was no way anyone could surmount him. The first F1 pole position of both Haas and Magnussen’s time in F1.
Aside from a point in the Sprint, the rest of the weekend proved disappointing for the team. However, that in no way diminished the achievement.
Saudi Arabia was always going to be a challenging race. It was even more challenging for Haas as they only had one car running. After a horribly scary shunt in qualifying, Schumacher was ruled out of the race on Sunday – he was given the all-clear but the car was wrecked. This was a low point for Haas as they had to fix so much damage, but it also marked the start of consistent damage repairs on Schumacher’s car.
Monaco was the ultimate low point for Haas. They suffered a double retirement. This was especially disappointing as Magnussen had made some good moves and was on the edge of the points before he retired with a power unit issue.
Schumacher crashed on lap 27 and severely damaged his car. Again, he successfully got out of the car and was deemed okay but Haas had another major repair job to do. This second major crash was starting to spell out the German driver’s future. Guenther Steiner summed it up best, saying:
“It’s not very satisfactory having a big crash again”
Japan wasn’t a great race for Haas. Both drivers failed to finish in the points. But the major takeaway from the weekend was Mick Schumacher and his habit of big crashes. After FP1 had just finished, Schumacher dramatically sent his VF-22 into the barriers.
Mick will be unable to participate in FP2 due to the requirement of a chassis change following his incident at the end of FP1.#HaasF1 #JapaneseGP pic.twitter.com/73Df8ThZQz
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) October 7, 2022
Not only was this another repair job for the Haas team and more money spent on parts but Schumacher had to miss FP2. This was a costly mistake as it was his first time at the track and needed all the practice.
In the highlights section, it seemed like Haas this year was just the ‘K-Mag’ show. Magnussen truly was what Haas needed this year. He got them their first points on his ‘re-debut’, he picked up points consistently during the first half of the season – before their performance fell away slightly – and got them the first pole position for Haas in F1. Magnussen finished 13th in the championship with a respectable 25 points.
Schumacher had some highs but too many lows in 2022. He got his first F1 points and followed it up with an even stronger display and back-to-back points finishes. It was a long time coming and was something fans had been hoping and waiting for. It was a special moment. Like his brief battle with Fernando Alonso in Hungary last year, his fight with Max Verstappen at Silverstone showed the driver he could still yet prove to be.
Unfortunately for Mick, he was just too crash-prone, including obvious driver errors, like when he shunted with Vettel in Miami. He ended the season as the most costly driver on the grid, as he was in his debut campaign. This was ultimately his downfall. Schumacher finished on 12 points and cost the team millions of dollars. Replaced by compatriot Nico Hulkenberg for 2023, Mick will bring the Schumacher name back to Mercedes as their reserve driver next season.
Haas did a good job. They got themselves away from the bottom of the table and into eighth. That’s a great improvement. They also got 37 more points than they did last year. On paper, it appears to be a great season for Haas.
But, if you delve deeper you do find weaknesses. They did suffer some reliability issues which make you question what could have been. Despite being far off Aston Martin, who finished in P7, with fewer reliability issues could have solidified their finishing position. They only beat AlphaTauri by two points.
What to expect for 2023
In a stark departure from the all-rookie Haas line-up from 2021, the team have brought another veteran out of temporary F1 retirement in Nico Hulkenberg. The hope is that partnering experience with experience will further push the American team up the grid.
Magnussen and Hulkenberg haven’t always been the best of friends, as is well chronicled. This will be something to watch out for in 2023. However, the pair have been said to have buried the hatched.
If all is well between the two, Haas could be on for another leap forward. If they improve at the rate they did in 2022, they could threaten the top of the midfield, as they did in 2018, their best F1 campaign to date.
Feature Image: Haas F1 Team Media