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Haas: Mexico was a ‘wake-up call’ for the entire team

The 2023 season for Haas has seen a drop in performance with the American team now last in the championship

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Nico Hulkenberg has admitted that the Mexican City Grand Prix was a “wake-up call” for everyone at Haas, saying “at this rate, you can’t compete in F1,” whilst Kevin Magnussen said it was a “tough” weekend.  

Haas
Kevin Magnussen’s crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 29, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Eduardo Mendoza/Jam Media/Getty Images)

The Mexican City Grand Prix was Round 20 of the 2023 season. Heading into the weekend, Haas had 12 points in total and were above AlphaTauri in the Constructors’ Championship.

However, after the race at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, AlphaTauri have moved above Haas in the standings, bumping the American team to 10th. The only other year that Haas finished the season in P10 was 2021 – the team failed to score any points that year.

Now with only a few days left till the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Haas have spoken out about their weekend. Both drivers failed to score points in Mexico. Nico Hulkenberg did finish the race but he unfortunately dropped down to 13th. On the other side of the garage, Kevin Magnussen didn’t finish the race after a huge crash, which brought his race to an early end.

A ‘tough’ weekend for Haas

Magnussen’s DNF in Mexico marked his fourth retirement this season. The Danish driver has previously DNF’d the Australian Grand Prix, Monaco Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix.

However, last weekend his crash came about due to a rear-left suspension failure. At Turn 8, Magnussen was forced into the barriers due to the suspension failure, but thankfully was okay.

Speaking after the race on his incident, Magnussen said: “It happened in a bad place and I hit the wall, so I got a knock on my hands and they hurt a little bit, but they’re fine.

“We have to investigate a bit more what exactly happened as it just gave up. Before that, it was going okay, I was stuck in traffic for a long time and cooked my tyres, but I don’t know if whatever caused the failure had an impact for a while beforehand.”

Whilst Magnussen crashed out of the Grand Prix, Hulkenberg did see the chequered flag. But his race wasn’t as good as expected. The German driver qualified in 12th and for a good while during the race, Hulkenberg managed to hold on to P10. However, by final lap, he was down in P13, meaning no points were scored once again. So far this season, Haas have only scored points in four Grands Prix and one Sprint.

Hulkenberg has honestly admitted, post-race, that Haas have to figure out what went wrong during the Mexico City Grand Prix because otherwise “you can’t compete in F1.”

Haas brought a significant upgrade package to the car two rounds ago at COTA. However, after Mexico the team are now P10 in the standings because Daniel Ricciardo secured six points finishing P7.

As reported by The Race, Hulkenberg spoke about Haas’ weekend, saying:

“It’s inevitable. We’re paying a price for not bringing upgrades, for not finding performance.

“Hopefully it’s a wake-up call for everyone in the factory. At this rate, you can’t compete in F1.”

Steiner’s pragmatic view

Whilst the two Haas drivers have reflected on the low points of the weekend, Team Principal Guenther Steiner has taken away some positives. Steiner did admit that Haas may have “expected a little bit more from the upgrade”, but he also took account the difference in weekends. He said:

“But then it’s still a little bit up and down because Austin was a sprint weekend with not a lot of testing, and Mexico had such high altitude.

“We didn’t have enough total downforce last weekend, so I still haven’t come to a full conclusion.

“The expectations were a bit higher, although it’s giving us the right direction for next year.”

With Hulkenberg having struggled with tyre management, Steiner reflected, saying that the Mexico City Grand Prix was actually “one of the best races in a while” for the team. And whilst not everything went the way Haas expected, Steiner is hopeful they’re going in the right direction. He said:

“So, still exploring, still finding out and learning more about the package. And I hope there’s more to come as we go.”

The next race is at Interlagos for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix this coming weekend. Magnussen achieved pole position there last year but will Haas be able to replicate that result this weekend?

Headline Image: X at HaasF1Team

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