Challenging start to the F1 season for Kannapolis-based Haas Team

BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN - MARCH 05: Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23 during the...
BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN - MARCH 05: Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23 during the Bahrain GP at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday March 05, 2023 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images)(Andy Hone | Andy Hone / LAT Images)
Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 1:40 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - The Kannapolis-based Haas F1 Team was hope for a better start to the 2023 Formula One season in the opening race in Bahrain.

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team finished with Kevin Magnussen 13th and Nico Hulkenberg 15th at the Bahrain Grand Prix, held Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

“The result wasn’t what we expected – Nico didn’t have a great start losing a front wing endplate and Kevin was, in hindsight, on the wrong tire at the start,” said Team Principal Guenther Steiner. “I think race pace was better than we expected and that’s what we take away from here – there is good potential in the car. We qualified in the top 10 and maybe could even have been in the top eight if everything went perfectly. In the race it didn’t go our way, but we learned a lot and we now know that we’re in the ballpark on race pace like everybody else. We go to Jeddah well prepared, and we’ll see what we can do there – I think points are possible.”

Hulkenberg lined up from 10th place on Pirelli P Zero Red soft tires while Magnussen was the sole driver on the grid to opt for White hard tires – the Dane from 17th. Both drivers relinquished track position on the opening lap, with Hulkenberg suffering from minor contact and dropping to 15th, while Magnussen brought up the rear on his off-set strategy.

Hulkenberg came in on lap 12, the German switching to hard rubber, before another stop on lap 27, which included a front wing change. Magnussen pitted on lap 15 for more hard tires before switching to softs on lap 30. Both drivers took the opportunity of a virtual safety car period, caused by the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc coming to a halt, to pit for a third time on lap 40, both taking on softs.

“It was a tricky race – especially the first half,” Hulkenberg said. “I had contact with someone on lap one which I didn’t really notice so that was a bit frustrating. I had quite a lot missing from the front wing and lost a lot of load and grip with that, and that made the first half of the race very tough. We tried to hang in there, but I was going through my tires like a hot knife through butter, so we decided there was no point in continuing like that and we pitted for a new front wing. We did a race distance though and got lots of good information, so we’ll definitely take that.”

Magnussen greeted the checkered flag in 13th place while Hulkenberg finished his first race for MoneyGram Haas F1 Team in 15th position.

“I was pleasantly surprised with our race pace,” Magnussen said. “We started P17 but still made up a few positions and it felt like the pace was alright in terms of where we came from. I think we were struggling a lot in testing and on Friday with tire wear and in the race it seemed like we made a step, which is positive. It wasn’t the weekend we dreamed of, but we learned a lot.”

Up front Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen opened the 2023 season with victory, ahead of teammate Sergio Perez, with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso completing the podium.