Australian Grand Prix – Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes the team have reason to be optimistic about their chances of points at the season opener in Melbourne.
The American outfit emerged as one of the surprise packages from pre-season testing in Barcelona, with Kevin Magnussen setting the sixth-fastest time overall with a 1:18.360.
What made this time even more impressive was the fact that Magnussen’s time was set on the super soft Pirelli tyres, whilst the fastest time of the test – Sebastian Vettel’s 1:17.182 in the Ferrari – was posted on the fastest available tyre – the new hyper soft Pirelli tyres.
Pirelli’s predictions on the performance difference between tyres suggest that – on face value – the Haas car may be able to set a hyper soft-tyre time comparable to the Ferrari, although other variables such as fuel levels and engine performance are not factored in.
Speaking ahead of the curtain-raiser in Australia, Steiner is aiming for a double-Q3 appearance from his team, with that being translated into a double-points finish.
“I would say we’ll know the potential of the car after qualifying in Australia. After the test, we can say we’re in the midfield, and hopefully in the top half of the midfield. I think we are cautiously optimistic.”
“Yes, I would say the guys did a very good job on aero and design to get a car that is better balanced than the 2017 car. Then again, we’ll only see in Australia how it stacks up against the other cars.”
“Double points is always the best finish. Getting into Q3 with both cars, that is our aim this year, because then, anything can happen.”