After a great initial debut in Formula 1, the Haas F1 team have struggled in recent years. The team barely managed to score points in 2020, ending the year ninth in the standings amassing just three points in what proved to be a turbulent year.
For 2021, the team has decided to go with an all-new driver lineup with F1 rookies, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin making the transition from F2. Team owner Gene Haas however, is hoping the team can do what they can for 2021 with the aim of making a huge step forward in 2022 when the technical overhaul is set to come into effect.
"It’s been a tough couple of seasons, but we’ve also got our eye on the bigger picture, in particular 2022 and the implementation of the new regulations," said Haas to Crash.net.
“I wouldn’t say (2021 is) a holding season, it’s a transitional season - a transition to get to 22 with big expectations.
"We did this with the expectation that this year if we invest a lot of time, money, tokens, wind tunnel time - it’s only for one year. We were starting late last year anyway, the car wasn’t our best.
“So if you put it all together, it was actually pointless to invest in the short-term, it was much more important to invest in the long-term and that’s the 2022 regulations.
"So it’s a transitional period to get over to 2022, this is part of the whole plan. We want to be ready for 2022 in all areas, so, in the end, we will come up with two drivers which are ready, young and hungry, that are already there and we’ve got a good car for them in 2022."
The American team entered a period of decline post the 2018 F1 season when they finished fifth. The team have taken a gamble in running two rookie drivers, though their hiring of Mazepin was done more with an aim of securing the team's financial future.
Given their reluctance to invest both their time and resources in their 2021 car, Haas might be in for their most difficult season to date. With Williams receiving a much needed shot in the arm through Dorilton Capital, the Grove-based team could leapfrog Haas, leaving the American rock bottom in the constructor's standings.