Haas F1 to rein in spending until full effect of pandemic is clear

Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner says the team is not planning on making any upgrades to their 2020 car until the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are clearer.
Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner says the team is not planning on making any upgrades to their 2020 car until the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are clearer.
Image: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Haas are not planning upgrades to their 2020 Formula One car until the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are clear and they know what they can spend, team principal Guenther Steiner said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters, Steiner pointed to uncertainty over the number of races as the main factor affecting his budget since that determines the share of revenues and sponsor payments.

Formula One had scheduled a record 22 races for this year, but this has since been whittled down to between 15 and 18, with only eight grands prix in Europe confirmed so far on a provisional calendar.

"We are not planning any upgrades until we know exactly what we are doing this year budget-wise and race-wise," said Steiner, whose drivers are Denmark's Kevin Magnussen and Frenchman Romain Grosjean.

"I cannot spend money which I don’t know if I’ve got. At the moment we have to be very cautious with what we are doing, because obviously ... the income is going down, with having fewer races and races without spectators.

"Until it’s very clear, I’m very cautious and [will] just make sure that we participate, that we do our job as best we can, that we are making no mistakes in the races or in the sessions and just focus on that."

Steiner, whose US-owned team have one of the smaller budgets in Formula One, said Haas could not risk committing money to upgrades and then be unable to pay for them and risk missing races.

Asked about the risk of making the call to develop the car too late, he replied: "This is part of the risk we have got. It’s fine, we need to live with that. This is an exceptional year - hopefully for all of us, so this is what we live with."

Formula One has already agreed that teams will keep this year's cars in 2021 as a cost-saving measure, with new rules postponed to 2022.

The races will come in a rush - eight in 10 weekends - once the season opens in Austria on July 5. Steiner added that spares were not a concern because planning had been for an average year.


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