F1i Team Report Card for 2023: Haas

Beginning our annual review of how all ten F1 teams fared in 2023, we start with a look at Haas and drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

A deserved wooden spoon for a team struggling for direction

(L to R): Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team with Guenther Steiner (ITA) Haas F1 Team Prinicipal and Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas F1 Team. 19.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Preparation Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Price / XPB Images

The team picture

  • Constructors standing: P10, 12 points

The good news is that Haas avoided the fate that consumed them in 2021 when they were dead last having scored no points. This year they're back to dead last in the constructors standings, but at least they picked up 12 points along the way which will give them a small share of the prize money on offer. That's still only a third of points that accrued when they finished eighth last year, however. Given that the team released the crash-prone Mick Schumacher in favour of the vastly more experienced Nico Hulkenberg last winter, such retrograde movement is hard to justify.

Once again it was car development that let Haas down. The VF-23 became notorious for eating its tyres on even short race runs. Anytime they pulled off some inspired qualifying performances, everything they gained was undone as soon as the lights went out on Sunday. Haas' best result was in Australia where Hulkenberg survived a crash-strewn late restart to emerge in seventh place, and he was also sixth in the Austria sprint. After that the team scored only once more in the remaining 13 races of the year. It was frankly painful to watch.

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas F1 Team and Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team on the drivers' parade. 08.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

The driver line-up

  • Nico Hulkenberg: P16, 9 points
  • Kevin Magnussen: P19, 3 points

Nico Hulkenberg showed little sign of 'race rust' when he was recalled to duty by Haas after two years on the sidelines. He contributed the best two results of the season for the team in Australia and the Austria sprint, although those were the only times he scored points all year. Kevin Magnussen finished in tenth place on three occasions (Saudi Arabia, Miami and Singapore) but overall Hulkenberg beat Magnussen 13 times to nine on race day and out-qualified the Dane 15-7. Canada was a particular success where he claimed second on the grid before a red flag infringement earned him a costly grid drop for the race itself.

Magnussen fared better in the shorter sprint race format where he finished ahead of Hulkenberg in four of the six Saturday events, although never in the top eight to secure points. He won't be happy to have been relegated to second driver status, but Hulkenberg will be little more satisfied with how things have gone either.

Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas VF-23 and Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas VF-23 battle for position. 04.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sprint Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Price / XPB Images

How 2024 is looking for Haas

Haas last scored a championship point in Singapore, and before that you'd have to look back to Austria for any success. The car was simply not good enough, and Guenther Steiner seemed to give up on the situation very early on. The team did little about bringing in upgrades to improve the team's fortunes. It's hard to see what the team is doing, what plan (if any) it might have had, or where the money (assuming there is some) is going.

With a team like Haas on the grid but barely registering, it makes it very hard for Formula 1 to reject an application from Andretti Global on the grounds that teams should only be in the sport if they're making a positive contribution. Haas are adding nothing of note to the sport outside Steiner's forthright barbs on Drive to Survive, and the situation looks unlikely to change anytime soon in 2024 unless they're going a very good job hiding something.

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