No matter if you have the fastest or slowest car in Formula 1, you must execute a clean, mistake-free weekend to maximise your result. What does this actually mean when put into practice?
A number of things, including: Don’t crash, optimise car setup, deliver when it matters and get the strategy spot on. These are all factors Haas have failed to get right in the last five events and they are paying the price for it.
The team are ninth in the F1 Constructors’ Championship, whilst Mick Schumacher is still yet to score a point in 2022. It’s not where they should be and something needs to change soon.
Sign of bad things to come in Miami
Looking at a team’s last five races is a great indicator about form, so let’s start off with Miami at the beginning of May.
Haas decided to pit Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen, only for them both to come out in traffic which ruined their races.
Nevertheless, Schumacher was running in eighth when a late-race safety car was called, But Haas opted to leave him out there on old, hard tyres whereas the likes of Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel pitted for fresh, soft rubber.
When Vettel inevitably went by Schumacher dived back down the inside at Turn 1, hitting his compatriot as his chances of points fell by the wayside.
As for Magnussen, he clashed with Lance Stroll on two occasions, forcing him to retire on the penultimate lap of the race.
Haas let Schumacher down again
At the Spanish GP, Magnussen and Schumacher made Q3 so there were high hopes for Haas but, just like Miami, an incident and poor strategy meant they came away from Barcelona with nothing.
Schumacher started on softs and was following Daniel Ricciardo for the majority of the first stint. The key was to undercut Ricciardo, but Haas pitted him on the same lap as the McLaren driver so he was stuck behind him again.
Eventually, Schumacher used his pace advantage to get by before pitting for a second time on Lap 30 of the 66 lap race.
You would think the 2020 Formula 2 champion was on a three-stop strategy, instead he went to the end of the race and was a sitting duck to drivers who attacked him on fresher rubber, so he finished in a dismal 14th.
Magnussen was unlucky to make contact with Lewis Hamilton at Turn 4 on the opening lap, although you could argue he should have known who he was racing and given a little more room – a point which can be said again after Montreal on Sunday.
Double DNF in Monaco
It was never going to be easy for Schumacher and Magnussen to score points from their respective 13th and 15th place starting positions, but the rain did throw up an opportunity to move up the order.
Unfortunately, Magnussen retired due to a power unit issue and Schumacher had a massive crash at the Swimming Pool chicane.
The smallest of errors from Schumacher saw him hit the barrier hard, causing a red flag, which was his second major accident of 2022 after his big crash during qualifying for the Saudi Arabian GP.
Team principal Guenther Steiner, who has been in charge since Haas joined F1 in 2016, was not pleased to say the least.
“With Mick we obviously saw what happened,” said Steiner. “It’s not very satisfactory having a big crash again. We need to see how we move forward from here.”
More problems in Baku and Montreal
Magnussen was set for a point or two at the Azerbaijan GP until another power unit problem brought him to a halt at Turn 15.
Meanwhile, Schumacher had awful pace, perhaps lacking confidence a fortnight on from his crash in Monaco.
It looked like the team were about to turn a corner when they scored their best qualifying in F1 six days later at the Canadian GP as Magnussen and Schumacher did a tremendous job in wet conditions.
However, points are won on a Sunday in F1 and it all quickly went wrong for the pair early in the Grand Prix.
Similarly to Barcelona, Magnussen was on the outside of Hamilton on the opening lap and had the tiniest of touches with the seven-time world champion, damaging his front wing. He was given the black and orange flag, forcing him to make a pit stop.
Magnussen suffered more misfortune when the virtual safety cars gave his rivals the opportunity to make a cheaper pit stop, thus jumping him.
From there, Magnussen‘s race was pretty much over, although Haas strangely decided to not pit him when the late-race safety car came out so the Dane had was left to fight with 50-lap old tyres.
It was Schumacher‘s turn to have a power unit problem when he was running relatively well and it’s not clear whether he would have scored points. Yet more frustration for Haas as their Ferrari power unit let them down for a third race in a row.
Unacceptable run of form
Haas have simply not been good enough recently and 15 points after nine rounds is a very poor showing for a team that have built everything towards 2022 and the new regulations.
They have a great car but mistakes from the drivers and the team mean the American-based outfit probably have one-third of the points they should have scored.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say Haas should be fighting for fifth place in the constructors’ championship, ahead of AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo.
Operationally, the team have made some strange strategy errors, too many, which seems to be an inherent problem that’s carried over from previous seasons.
Schumacher has come under pressure for underperforming although he has showed glimpses of form and had his fair share of bad luck. That said, he must get closer to Magnussen on a regular basis.
Imagine of Haas retained Nikita Mazepin alongside Schumacher, it’s possible they would be last in a car which is arguably fifth best.
Haas need to get the basics right or else they will lose millions from a position in the constructors’ championship that their car doesn’t deserve.