Haas team principal Gunther Steiner has confirmed that the team will run the new spec and old spec of their Formula 1 car at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as their drivers seek to sit in whichever car suits them best, just as they did at the Las Vegas GP.
Nico Hulkenberg announced his preference for the old spec of the VF-23, whilst Kevin Magnussen opted for the updated version with new bodywork. It’s not part of a plan to gather and cross-compare data, according to the team.
Neither car has seemed to have an edge over the other, although Haas believe the new version has more potential for the 2024 season and beyond.
“There were no regrets or anything that they both did that,” Steiner said to the media. “That is what one prefers and that is what the other one likes better.”
He also confirmed it will be in place at the Yas Marina Circuit and added that it isn’t a concern as Haas are abandoning the car concept at the end of the year.
“Not really [if there’s any concern], because I think next year is a complete new car,” Steiner added. “And we start from zero, we just start off fresh.
“At least they [the drivers] are both are very outspoken, ‘I like this’, and the other one will be like, ‘I like this’.
“So you don’t argue anymore about it. But next year, you start from zero and you need to develop the car so that the car is faster and the drivers like it better.”
Haas rate Oliver Bearman
One emerging talent making a name for himself in Formula 2 is Oliver Bearman, an 18-year-old from the UK who is attracting a lot of interest from fans, media and teams with Haas already courting him by offering him Free Practice sessions.
The youngster, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, has been paired up with Prema during his rookie season in F2 and has taken three poles, three feature race wins and one sprint race win.
He sits sixth in the standings with 130 points, just eight points behind the experienced F2 driver of Jack Doohan ahead of the final race weekend in the series.
“Pretty good. I mean, he does a good job,” Steiner said of Bearman‘s performance in FP1.
“He stays very cool and very, very mature for 18 years old. He did a job in the car as well; he is confident not overconfident. It was a nice surprise, a positive surprise.”