Haas introduced a massive upgrade package at the United States Grand Prix, but they ultimately failed to show a clear step forward. This package included a new floor, sidepods, and engine cover bringing it more in line with Red Bull’s package.
The ultimate goal was to ease Haas’ tyre degradation issues, but after the Sprint session on Saturday both Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg said they didn’t notice any tangible gains in pace or a reduction in tyre degradation.
So in response, Haas opted to break parc ferme regulations and start from the pit lane on Sunday to alter the rear wing. This amounted to a P11 finish for Hulkenberg and P14 for Magnussen after Hamilton and Leclerc’s disqualification.
Despite those results, Haas chief designer, Andrea De Zordo, claims that the new package is a good base on which to start building from.
“It is already better,” De Zordo said. “It is a little bit better than the old package. The fact that also, performance is better in these [early] days here I think is a good point.
“We have something that’s performing a little bit better. But we know that we can develop a lot more the platform. So, all in all, even if you didn’t a expect big step [initially], I think what we are seeing is positive.”
He went on to say that Haas’ simulated downforce gains had translated to real-world gains as well as the aerodynamic platform becoming more stable, allowing the team to address the outwash issues causing tyre degradation.
The problem according to Haas, is that the update has been compromised by the current homologated crash structure around the monocoque.
“For sure we have done more extreme, only it was impossible to change it this year,” De Zorbo added. “This [would mean we’d need to make] completely new chassis.
“So, we had to accept it. We haven’t done all what we wanted to do. But we’ll leave that for the next year.
“To change all this year is quite difficult. We are targeting for next year… it’s something that step by step we are learning and we are improving.
“With this package we can improve a lot more than with the old package to have already something that is performing similar or better. It is already good starting point.”
De Zorbo admitted that the package was “rushed”, and the team even had to rent a workshop in Austin to actually fit the new parts in time for the race.