In their media preview ahead of the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix, drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg, along with Team Principal Guenther Steiner, summed up the key factors for Haas this week in one word.
As we’ve discussed throughout this week, qualifying is very important in Monaco. With overtaking being at a premium on Monte Carlo roads, starting from the front was essential. While these three outline how important Saturday is, they also point to communication between drivers, and teams, as a vital component of a successful Monaco Grand Prix.
As well as a successful qualifying session.
“Qualification is the most important part of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. It’s a very small track and traffic at the end of the lap before you start the flying loop can often be a challenge. Communication with the team and trying to manage yourself with a little extra tire temperature and brake temperature before having to line up before you start your lap is important,” said Magnussen in the team’s pre-race media report.
“It’s also a bit random, so it’s difficult to fully prepare, you just have to be careful and try to do your best in Turn 1 because you often arrive there with cold tyres and brakes, so that’s normal. a bit of a compromise,” added the driver.
“Communication is key,” added Hülkenberg. “To ‘survive’ on these narrow tracks with no real straight, every team and their riders must be prepared for the unthinkable at any moment.”
For Steiner, an important aspect of the keen communication between team and riders is keeping the riders mentally in a good place. Given the pressure of an F1 race to begin with – magnified by the challenges posed by the Monaco circuit – keeping drivers in the right frame of mind is critical.
“Communication as usual – try to communicate with the driver when there is traffic because if you’re on a hot lap and you find traffic you’re going to fall apart. It is very important to stay on top of that and keep the riders as calm as possible,” said the Haas team boss. “The pressure was enough in Monaco because of the high speed through a lot of tight walls. Then, if you have to deal with traffic, that sometimes makes drivers go the wrong way and they can’t focus on driving. It’s the only thing you can do and sometimes you do it right, but sometimes you get it wrong – so that’s where our main focus was throughout the session.”
While Monaco is an important date on the F1 calendar every year, and for every team, this year’s Monaco Grand Prix carries extra importance for Haas. This will mark the 150th Grand Prix for the team, which joined the grid in 2016. Speaking ahead of the canceled Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which would have been the 150th Grand Prix, Steiner shared his favorite memories of the team’s journey to date.
And the answer is probably classic Steiner.
“What stood out for me was when we arrived at the race track in Melbourne in 2016 because a lot of people said we weren’t going to make it. We did it, we are still here and that makes me proud for the whole team,” said Steiner. “We scored points in our first race which is unprecedented in Formula 1 history as well. For me it meant a lot to start a team, it’s a dream for many people to start a team and I was able to do it thanks to Gene Haas who allowed us to do this. We are in a good position now and we are just trying to get stronger and stronger, and we will do it.”
Now points are one thing, but is there a win in the team’s future?
Steiner believes so… someday.
“The aim at this time of year is to move up in the Constructors’ Championship from last year, getting better every year – it’s as simple as this – and at some stage we want to win the race,” said the team boss. “I don’t know how far it will go and I won’t say it’s this season or next season, but at some stage, it will happen with Haas.”
First win coming in Monaco?
It will be an amazing story.