Haas have confirmed that they will introduce their “biggest change” to the VF-23 at the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin later this year. The team have acknowledged that their initial concept has reached a developmental dead-end and have instead decided to introduce a new b-spec car to alleviate their race day issues and provide a solid platform for 2024.
Over one lap, the VF-23 has impressive pace especially in the hands of Nico Hulkenberg who managed to secure a front row spot in Canada. Unfortunately, that pace doesn’t transfer to the race where tyre degradation takes a heavy toll, much heavier than the rest of the grid forcing Haas onto alternative tyres strategies.
Haas kept their tall, bathtub sidepods from 2022 into 2023. This design feeds air towards the rear of the car, but the general trend among the grid has been to adopt a Red Bull style downwash effect, which is exactly what Haas are planning.
It’s a sound decision, especially since Ferrari, Haas’ technical partner, already made the switch towards Red Bull’s design at the Spanish Grand Prix, citing a lack of developmental opportunities. Haas have reached the same “development wall.”
“This was our biggest problem with the concept we have now, we couldn’t find any performance anymore,” Guenther Steiner told the media.
“We developed the whole year and there was nothing there. At some stage, you need to do something different, and we could not keep on banging our heads against the wall trying, while the other teams kept on finding gains.
“McLaren changed the system like this, and they found something.
“At some stage, you need to change concept and face reality.”
The new b-spec will be introduced at Austin and will be signify the direction of their 2024 car, according to Steiner.
“The concept of the car will change going that direction [downwash]. You’re limited with your chassis and a few other things, but we are trying to go to the downwash shape now as everybody else has done.”
This wasn’t the original plan. No, Haas wanted to bring regular updates to the VF-23, but they simply couldn’t find any performance.
“The plan was to have more updates with the concept we have now, but because we didn’t find performance, we did not introduce updates this year,” said Steiner.
“There’s no point in making car parts if the car does not go faster. So because we haven’t spent that money, we can now spend it on this big update.”