Projecting a massive progression for Haas at their home ground in Austin the coming weekend would be “idiotic”.
Such is the caution from team driver Kevin Magnussen, though he is filled with anticipation for the conclusion of Haas’s lengthy development hiatus at the US GP, marked by the launch of a B-version car.
Currently, Haas is just above the last position in the constructors’ lineup. Their vehicle, while sometimes performing impressively in individual laps, deteriorates quickly due to its high tyre wear during races.
The buzz is that the B-car from Haas might align with the development path McLaren has taken, sporting a fundamental aerodynamic design reminiscent of the formidable Red Bull.
“This specification of the car ended worse than it started, so we are happy to see the end of it,” Haas team principal Gunther Steiner conveyed to Ekstra Bladet newspaper.
Despite McLaren’s impressive advancements since adopting a more Red Bull-oriented model, the Danish driver Magnussen remains grounded.
“On paper we don’t expect a huge increase in downforce,” he stated. “It’s more of a different concept that works in a different way.”
“We hope to find more stability and a stronger platform under different conditions.
“The car we have right now looks pretty good on paper, but on the track it’s not that great,” Magnussen explained. “We do expect progress, but the reality out on the field may be different.
“But if the new car is easier to drive, if it is fundamentally stronger, better in crosswinds, in dirty air and the like, it will perhaps also be better with the tyres,” he said.
“It’s like a chain reaction that affects many things. So we hope that it is a completely different story on the field than in theory. But it is idiotic to come out and say that we expect to take a giant leap forward with an upgrade that on paper does not look all that much better.
“We try to be humble,” Magnussen explained, “take as much learning as possible, and then hope for the giant leap.”
Haas stands almost unique among competitors in introducing a major car upgrade this late in the 2023 season, but the compact American outfit maintains they are setting the groundwork for the forthcoming year.
“It’s a good sign that we’re making these adjustments to the car at this stage in the season,” Magnussen expressed. “We haven’t given up on this year.
“It’s exciting for the remaining races, but also for the development of next year’s car. In the end, it is also a research exercise, which provides answers and clues for next season.”