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Over Haas’ satisfactory 2022 season, Guenther Steiner ignored suggestions of a controversial team relationship with Ferrari.
The American team has repeatedly faced criticism surrounding its technical collaboration with the legendary constructor.
In 2018, both Force India and McLaren spoke out against the partnership after Haas arrived at testing with a car resembling the previous season’s Ferrari. McLaren’s Zak Brown has frequently been one of the biggest critics.
However, the so-called A and B-team system is a great way for smaller teams to enter the sport, according to Ross Brawn.
How Steiner grew frustrated with the constant questioning
The Italian team principal was not shy in expressing his annoyance in an interview with Autosport.
“If you are good, you are a copycat; if you are doing bad, nobody cares,” Steiner told Autosport.
“It’s like, alright then, keep on saying it, we have heard this before. It’s a broken record. It doesn’t do anything to me. I couldn’t care less about it.”
The relationship between prominent manufacturers and privateer teams regularly comes under scrutiny. Most recently, there were fears that Williams could become a “mini-Mercedes” with the appointment of James Vowles as their new team principal.
Nevertheless, Haas is in an encouraging position as the 2023 season rapidly approaches. With a pole position and a fifth-place finish under their belt from last year, the team is on an upward trajectory.
Financially, Haas is doing better than ever with the introduction of MoneyGram as the new title sponsor.
“2020 was not an easy position, because of the pandemic when that broke out,” said Steiner.
“But I think yeah, it puts us in a very solid position. The best one or not? I think in the beginning, we were very solid with everything.”
He continued to Autosport:
“When we came in in 2016, there was no budget cap, so you are a lot lower than the other teams, even if you are in a good financial situation. But now also compared to the other ones, we are very competitive financially – not competitive, we are equal.”
Letting go of Schumacher
After two tricky years racing for Haas, Mick Schumacher will take the role of reserve driver for Mercedes in 2023. Once his replacement was announced as experienced super-sub Nico Hulkenberg, Steiner revealed to GP Fans that Schumacher was not considered for Haas’ reserve driver. In fact, he was never asked.
“It’s always difficult for somebody, if you have driven for a team, to then be relegated to reserve driver.,” Steiner explained. “I don’t think he would be happy with that.
“He didn’t approach me about that, and I didn’t want to [approach him about it]. It’s a bit cheap to ask him, ‘We won’t let you drive the car, but would you like to be the reserve driver?'”
Hulkenberg and current driver Kevin Magnussen have over 20 years of F1 experience between them, including the German’s stint as a reserve driver for Racing Point and Aston Martin.
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