For those of you who will have watched the first round of the 2022 championship, you will have been just as shocked as the rest of us to see the turnaround of the Haas F1 team. A team who have had their fair share of adversity in the last 2 years at least. The American-owned team placed second-to-last in the 2020 Constructors’ World Championship with 3 points, and moved into last place in 2021 with 0 points.
2021 saw an ultimate shake-up at Haas. After years of struggling financially, the team made a life-saving sponsorship deal with Uralkali, and oligarch Dimitri Mazepin, meaning they could continue to race in the 2021 season. However, this also led to switching out Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, for 2 new rookies; Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. To add insult to injury, due to the current invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Haas dropped Uralkali as their title sponsor, waving goodbye to Nikita Mazepin soon after.
After a dismal debut by both drivers, and the radical changing of regulations looming for the 2022 season, Haas F1 decided to shift the focus on developing that car.
Additionally, they also brought back an old friend. Enter, Kevin Magnussen – a 4 year Haas veteran. Magnussen went right to work and flew through testing with great success, going on to qualify 6th in Bahrain. Magnussen solidified a great weekend with a 5th place finish, which is the team’s best result since the Austrian Grand Prix in 2018. Mick Shumacher narrowly missed out on giving Haas a double-points finish on Sunday – nevertheless, Bahrain’s 11th place finish gave Schumacher a career best result.
In an interview with Sky Sports F1, Guenther Steiner (Haas Team Principal) told them “If you think about the last 2 years and then coming back like this, you cannot write a story like this.” He added that he was proud of the team after the struggle they faced over the years, and stated that they, themselves should be proud of their work.
Following an amazing weekend for the team, Magnussen praised Haas and their dedication to keep going; “The team just deserved this so much. They took a lot of bashing (last year) with a tough car because they were focused on this one.” It seems that channelling all of the resources and time into 2022 has really paid off.
Moreover, the dynamic between Mick and Kevin seems one of prosperity and progression. While Schumacher may have excelled in comparison to his previous teammate, they still found themselves trailing behind everyone on the grid. With Magnussen’s arrival at Haas, a tangible benchmark for success begins to appear.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Steiner adds that while Mick may struggle a little, it is something he will have to get used to.
“It’s a good position for him to be in. He can analyse this race and see what he could have done differently to end up in the points, but he got close to it and it’s his best result as well.” -Steiner on Mick Schumacher
Hopefully this is merely the beginning for Mick, Kevin and the whole of the Haas team. Not only are we seeing the team blossom with these drivers, it would be spectacular to see Haas continue on their current trajectory.
After a multitude of errors, downfalls and tough times, there is nothing greater than witnessing Haas dust themselves off and rise like a phoenix from the ashes – they really do seem like a diamond in the rough!
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