Steiner accepts Haas likely to finish last in 2021

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Team principal Guenther Steiner has conceded that Haas F1 is now likely to finish up the season with the wooden spoon for last place in the constructors championship.

Up to now, Haas has been able to rely on Williams as a buffer at the bottom of the standings, but the outcome of last week's Hungarian Grand Prix has changed all that.

Williams drivers Nicholas Latifi and George Russell picked up ten points between them at the hungaroring in the wake of the turn 1 incidents that wrote off many of the top contenders. But Haas once again walked away without reward.

“Williams didn’t expect this blessing in terms of points, but they did a good job and were in the right place at the right time," Steiner said in an interview with Speedweek.

“That’s how it goes in racing sometimes, that’s why I always say you always have to do your best," he added. “They were ready when there was a few points up for grabs and that’s why they were able to strike.

"But I’m not betting on that happening to us," he added.

While both Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher avoided getting caught up in the opening mayhem, the Russian driver was taken out by a separate incident on pit lane when he collided with Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen in a case of unsafe release by the Italian squad.

"We were taken out for no reason by an Alfa Romeo which Nikita couldn’t do anything about, he just got taken out in a bad way," said Steiner.

"It’s disappointing because it was so unnecessary," he sighed. "But sometimes things like that happen that shouldn’t happen.

“It would have been tricky to score points even without the crash, but Nikita missed the opportunity to finish a race where he could have learned a lot and that’s what we are about at the moment.”

Nikita Mazepin (RUS) Haas F1 Team VF-21 retired from the race. 01.08.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest

One of the few high points of the race was seeing Schumacher in a pitched battle with Max Verstappen, although with the Red Bull admittedly carrying significant bodywork damage.

And Schumacher still went on to finish ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi in the second Alfa, although both drivers were outside the points at the line. Even so, 12th place was his best result to date.

"The good thing was to see Mick fighting for whatever was there and holding Giovinazzi behind, that was pretty good," noted Steiner. "It’s a good lesson for him next year to fight with somebody, even if the car is faster.

"It was still frustrating because other people scored points and we didn’t, and at some stage it looked like we would as well.”

Schumacher was praised for his efforts to hold off Verstappen by former world champion Damon Hill, an old rival of his father Michael, who called him "a Bit of a feisty driver".


Schumacher had started the race at the back after missing qualifying due to an accident in final practice. For his part, the 22-year-old nominated qualifying at the previous race in Britain as the highlight of his rookie season so far when he made it through to Q2 for the first time.

"It’s tough because we knew it was going to be difficult for us to fight for points and everything," he told Sky Sports F1. “But we’ve had a Q2 appearance, that was a very big highlight of mine.

“It’s tough, but you have to see it in the way that even in a car which is under-developed, we’re still able to get into Q2. It’s those moments that we’re fighting for."

As for the costly mistake in Hungary on Saturday morning, Schumacher said it was all part of the process of growing up and earning experience in F1.

“It’s important for me to do mistakes because from the mistakes, you learn. The good thing is we’ve never done a mistake twice up to now, so that’s very positive.”

Schumacher is expected to remain with Haas for a second season in 2022, although as a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy he's also been linked with a possible transfer to Alfa Romeo.

"It’s been something where I didn’t really put my thoughts," he said. "It’s mainly in the summer break where we’ll talk about it and see what direction we’ll go for."

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