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Haas F1 Team

Why Haas fell to the back of the grid in Australian GP practice

Haas started the 2022 F1 season as one of the leading midfield runners - putting them behind only Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and Alpine in the Constructors' Championship - but on Friday in Australia, the American outfit were at the back of the running order.

Magnussen Bahrain
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To news overview © Haas

Haas have explained the accumulation of problems that has seen them fall from points-scorers at both the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian Grands Prix to running at the back of the order during Friday practice in Australia.

It has been a memorable start to the new campaign for the American outfit, with Kevin Magnussen's fifth-place finish in Bahrain having ended their 609-day wait for a top 10 finish.

Magnussen then repeated the feat in Saudi Arabia, on that occasion finishing ninth after coming out on top of a race-long battle with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Those results have left the team feeling confident that they can fight at the front of the midfield throughout 2022, after sacrificing the 2021 season to focus on building their new car.

But during Friday practice at the Australian Grand Prix, Haas were unable to place any higher than 16th, with Magnussen's best lap time over a second slower than that of direct rivals Alfa Romeo.

Steiner: We'll come back tomorrow

Team boss Guenther Steiner has explained that Haas' sudden loss of performance is the product of a combination of minor setbacks that started with Magnussen reporting that he was feeling unwell on Friday morning.

After passing Magnussen fit to get behind the wheel of his VF-22, the team then discovered a suspension problem on Mick Schumacher's car that proved incurable.

“[It was] not a perfect day for us with various issues," explained Steiner.

"FP2 was already better than FP1, so we just need to work a little bit more.

"There were a few things, starting with Kevin not feeling very well this morning, and then maybe some suspension problems which we couldn’t fix for Mick, which we'll now try to investigate."

Steiner is hopeful that the squad's prospects can improve throughout the weekend, though.

"There was a little bit of everything - not a perfect day," he added. "We'll come back tomorrow."

Magnussen hopeful things will be better on Saturday

Providing an update on his health, Magnussen said on Friday: "I didn’t feel great when I woke up this morning, but we still managed to get some laps in and get a feel for the car.

"Hopefully I’ll be a bit better [for Saturday], build from there and have a good qualifying again."

Magnussen will be keen to see his Haas team find improvements overnight, with the driver having now started to establish himself as a regular in Q3 sessions this season.

"It looks like we have a bit of work to do on the low-fuel balance, whereas high-fuel balance seems more in the window, so that's the focus," the Dane explained.

			© Michael Potts / RacingNews365
	© Michael Potts / RacingNews365

Schumacher: I'm still getting to know the track

With the 2020 and 2021 Australian Grands Prix both cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Albert Park is a new circuit to the likes of Schumacher.

Combine that with the track's newly-modified layout - leaving F1 simulators playing catch-up - and Friday practice provided the grid's younger stars with plenty of learning to do, made all the more challenging for Schumacher by a suspension problem.

"We had a few issues here and there. We're still trying to try to figure it out and be one hundred percent sure with what we had as an issue," Schumacher told media including RacingNews365.com.

"I think we're getting there and, hopefully for tomorrow, it'll be a little bit better. I'm just getting to know the track, really. I mean, it's quite different."

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F1 2022 Australian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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