Will Haas’ Gamble for 2022 pay off?

The end of the Bahrain Grand Prix led to the discussion of many topics. The hottest ones being track limits; the individual performances of Sergio Perez; Yuki the rookie, and Lando Norris, Who have garnered praise. The strides made by Ferrari, McLaren, and Redbull have received plaudits too. One team however that hasn’t garnered much praise is Haas. The team scored zero points with only one of its cars seeing the chequered flag whilst being last of the classified finishers. Haas’s difficulties didn’t spontaneously appear in the race, they were in part expected since testing. 

Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Tanishka Vashee

This disappointing start to the season comes as a result of the Haas F1 team diverting most of its effort and resources towards the 2022 season, where new aerodynamic regulations are set to come into effect. This is further illustrated by the fact that the team didn’t even bother to use any of its allotted tokens for the 2021 season. Thus the question will Haas’s gamble to effectively skip the 2021 season worth the risk and can it pay off?

Haas runs on a limited number of resources. The team’s staff consists of about 190 individuals, in comparison to Mercedes that has over 2000 men and women dedicated to its Formula 1 team. Having a relatively small workforce, the decision to focus most of the team’s efforts on the coming season seems logical bearing in mind the complete overhaul of the regulations. Another point of consideration is Haas’s current status; Though once entrenched in the midfield, the team currently sits towards the rear end of the field and as of last season. The team was seldom in the hunt for points, dividing the efforts of what is already a stretched-out staff in theory that doesn’t bear considerable change in the long run. If Haas aims to return to what is becoming an ultra-competitive midfield, they need to aim for proper management of their resources and in theory, it should work to their benefit. However, we don’t live in a theoretical world and this only constitutes part of Haas’s gamble as the other part is in their driver lineup. 

2021 car alongside drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin

Moving into the 2021 season Haas signed Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, while the pair are polarising among fans they share one thing in common and it is that they are rookies. Experience goes a long way in Formula 1 and the lack of it is definitely a deficit. While both drivers were good in junior Formulas with Schumacher being the reigning Formula 2 Champion, that success doesn’t always translate into good performance in  Formula 1. Most of the grid have had successful junior careers, it has become the minimum requirement to earn a drive in Formula one. It is no more a guarantee of stellar performance at the pinnacle of motorsport.

At the Bahrain Grand Prix, both Schumacher and Mazepin had spins in the early stages of the race. Which resulted in the latter crashing out just three turns into the first lap, something that has become an additional factor for his critics to level their displeasure on the Russian. The only consolation the pair of newcomers could draw is the little weight of expectation placed on them by the team boss, who has stated that all he is looking for them to do is see the chequered flag.

2019 Haas F1 car

Whilst the rookies might lack experience it’s not all doom and gloom. The one plus side to the entry of Nikita Mazepin is the influx of money by the company Urakali, that has become the title sponsors for Haas hence the name Uralkali Haas F1 team. 

While they may have sacrificed the 2021 season, logic would dictate that Haas could only gain from doing so. Is the team capable of  competing in the cutthroat sport of F1 remains to be seen, only time will tell. One thing is certain however, it can’t get worse. 

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