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F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Final Practice MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari and Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 02, 2023 in Monza, Italy.

Haas to try something new at Las Vegas GP for an unusual reason

The American team have not had a great season, currently finding themselves bottom of the constructors' championship with rival teams making improvements

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Haas is planning on splitting its Formula 1 VF-23’s for the race in Las Vegas, with Nico Hulkenberg driving the old spec and Kevin Magnussen receiving the new spec.

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - SprintSAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 4: Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg go hed to head at turn 1 during the Sprint race ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 4, 2023 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Haas brought upgrades to the United States Grand Prix, but have still struggled compared to its rivals (Image Credit: Kym Illman/Getty Images)

The American team have not had a successful 2023 season. The team finds itself bottom of the constructors’ championship with two races to go.

Throughout the whole season, the VF-23 has been harsh on its tyres. Plenty of occasions saw Hulkenberg qualify so high up, but then drop back down during the race due to its poor tyre degradation.

Haas brought a major upgrade package to its home races at the United States Grand Prix. However, since then no points have been scored by either driver.

Therefore, Haas have opted to split different specs of cars for their drivers. The reasoning is not because of wanting to gather data. Instead, its to suit the preferences of their drivers.

Different specs to suit drivers

Magnussen has struggled significantly compared to his teammate Hulkenberg this season. The Dane’s head-to-head record, especially in qualifying proves the woes he has endured this season.

The 30-year-old admitted that he had to try and change his driving style to suit the VF-23 earlier on in the season.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner reveals that the different specs for both drivers is simply for the preferences of them both. The Haas boss explained:

“The main drive behind this was Nico feels that for him the old spec suits him better, and Kevin is the opposite.

“We’ve opted to give them what they want, we have two races to go and nothing to lose, so we’ve tried to do what we can.”

Steiner admitted that it could be good use for data. However, the Italian-American believes that the team already has enough data. Instead, the focus is making sure the drivers are comfortable for the remaining two races.

F1 Grand Prix of BrazilSAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 5: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari during the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 5, 2023 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Hulkenberg could only manage 12th in Brazil (Image Credit: Vince Mignott/MB Media/Getty Images)
Clear issue to fix

As everyone knows, Haas’ main problem with their car is tyre degradation – impacting their race pace significantly. The tyre surfaces overheats, which is caused by excessive sliding from a lack of grip.

“We’re learning what doesn’t work, but I think we need to fix it,” he told after the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. “We know what we need on the aero. But we still need to make it, obviously.

“We are going in the right direction I hope in the wind tunnel. And for next year, we will cure this, we’ll learn about the cooling of the rims, and all that stuff.

“At the moment, we don’t have a big issue any more with the carcass temperature, it’s just the sliding, the surface overheating now.

“You learn bit by bit, but we cannot keep on learning, we need to give some results, to be honest. At least we’re doing something, because the other car just didn’t work.”

Steiner also said that Hulkenberg struggled significantly after the red flag restart with tyre wear. The German finished the race in Brazil in 12th, despite the race having six retirements.

Haas is currently four points adrift from Alfa Romeo in ninth. Can the American team produce something special at their third home race this weekend in Las Vegas?

Feature Image Credit: Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

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