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What the only American team in F1 is looking forward to this season

Guenther Steiner explained the growing excitement for America’s presence in the sport and the plan for continued improvement in Haas.

AUSTIN, Texas — Following an explosive 2022 Formula 1 (F1) season, the American-led MoneyGram Haas F1 Team is hoping for consistency and improvement going into the new season.

With only a month left before fans can hear the familiar sound of tires on asphalt and think “lights out and away we go,” the mystique around strategy, livery and the vehicles themselves is reaching a fever pitch among the racing community.

Before Haas is set to reveal its new VF-23 that is decked out with the new MoneyGram logo at Bahrain testing in late February, Team Principal Guenther Steiner sat down with KVUE’s Sam Searles to discuss the footprint that Haas created in F1 as the only American team in the European-dominant sport.

America loves an underdog to cheer for, but it appears to Steiner that there isn’t enough hype around having an American driver on the track for the first time in eight years. Logan Sargeant, the driver in question, isn’t driving for Haas – yet – but Steiner sees him as a huge step for Americans into the sport of F1.

“What I would like to see [is] a little bit more support for … Logan from America, because there is an American coming to F1. I didn’t think, you know, I missed that a little bit because everyone says, ‘I want an American,’” Steiner said. “I wish that he [gets] experience and then, once he has experience, he comes to us, the American team.”

Sargeant is driving for Williams Racing, a British team. But Steiner sees him as the start for a new wave of Americans. The main reason behind the only American team having a Danish and German driver is because there isn’t enough experience within F1 to recruit just yet, while Haas is still so new to the grid.

“For us, in the moment, i[t’s] more [about] performance [that] can be gained for the team to make it better to get ready. Because at the moment, there is no American driver with experience in F1,” Steiner said. “Therefore, we decided not to take an American again, you know.”

It might be a little bit longer until the home turf sees an American driver in its seat and wearing its livery, but fans will get to see a continued growth in strategy as the new season kicks off, according to Steiner. 

The phenomenal step Haas took at the Interlagos, Brazil, Grand Prix – with Kevin Magnussen earning P1 before race day – was one for the books. When it comes to replicating that though, Steiner explained that the necessary building blocks to re-create such an event, and eventually build to a podium this season, are more complex than they appear.

“It came unexpected [and] we took an opportunity. It was given to everybody, and we took it, we were there when it needed to be taken, and that is the strategy of the podium,” Steiner said. “In the moment, we cannot fight for a podium with just our own means – some teams are just too strong out there. But if you put yourself in a position that then you are given the opportunity that they could, then you can achieve it.”

The new unreleased livery will be seen on all 23 tracks this season, including all three American tracks in Austin, Las Vegas and Miami. The newest track to join the F1 family, Las Vegas, will poise a new challenge to every single team – Haas included – due to the lack of data and experience on the layout, according to Steiner.

In addition to the fresh eyes going into Vegas, Steiner stated that the main goal of this new season is to continue making solid steps in improving performance and increasing in the Constructor’s standings. The COVID-19 pandemic caused Haas to step backwards, creating a larger focus in just slowly improving in their progress.

“We just want to continue to do that like we did in the beginning when we came to Formula 1, before we got … into the pandemic, where we fell back quite a bit, you know,” Steiner said. “Our aim and hope is that we just get better and we can fight for points every weekend, you know. And normally we are never short of giving people some surprise or some drama or something unexpected.”

Suffice to say, the upcoming season is one rife with potential for anything to happen – fans learned that last season with Haas. And with the all-time high of 23 tracks and more racing, each race is one fans can’t afford to miss.

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