Steiner hopes to benefit from rivals' driver shake-up

Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 team principal
© XPB 

Haas F1 boss Guenther Steiner says that he's hoping his team will benefit from the shake-up of the driver line-ups at Renault and Toro Rosso.

Jolyon Palmer has been dropped by Renault for the rest of the season. His final Formula 1 appearance for the time was in Japan last weekend. His place will be taken by Carlos Sainz from the next race in the United States.

Toro Rosso's post-Sainz line-up remains in doubt. Daniil Kvyat is expected to return after a two-race absence in favour of Gasly. However, Gasly himself may miss Austin in order to compete for the Japanese Super Formula title.

Steiner hopes that all these changes and uncertainties among his closest mid-field rivals will allow Haas to gain an advantage.

Haas moved up to seventh place in the constructors championship after Suzuka, one point ahead of Renault. Both its drivers finished in the points in the Japanese Grand Prix, with Kevin Magnussen eighth and Romain Grosjean ninth.

"I wouldn't say we've got confident," said Steiner when asked if they would be able to hold on to seventh. "But we will try."

Toro Rosso are a further nine points ahead of Haas in the standings, but Steiner believes his team now has the upper hand.

"We will work hard. We've got closer to Toro Rosso. The battle is not over in there, it just started in my opinion," he told Autosport magazine. "It's tough. I'd rather be ahead, than behind.

"It's the same for Toro Rosso," he commented. "They would rather be nine points ahead than nine behind. It keeps it interesting for the fans."

Sainz's departure from Toro Rosso with four races remaining could prove pivotal to how things turn out.

"I hope it helps [us]," he said. "It could because Sainz is a good driver and he scored almost all of Toro Rosso's points."

Sainz has scored 48 points so far in 2017, with Kvyat contributing just four to Toro Rosso's tally. Newcomer Gasly has yet to finish in the points in his two outings with the team.

While Haas has mainly turned its attention to development of its 2018 car, the team still has one more card to play when it comes to upgrades.

"We have small updates for Austin, the last one for this car," Steiner revealed. "It's a small modification for the floor. But it's small. It's not something that will make us go half a second faster, nothing near it."

However he felt the forthcoming upgrade demonstrated how seriously the team was still taking this year's championship.

"You need to try and do what you can do so we do it."

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