Haas prepares for high-risk Azerbaijan GP

Kevin Magnussen

Haas prepares for a high-risk event on the streets of Baku as Formula 1 heads to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The US-registered operation suffered a double retirement in Monaco last time out, with a power unit problem hurting Kevin Magnussen’s chances after 21 laps.

Five laps later, a Mick Schumacher error saw the German crash spectacularly into the pool, ripping the rear of the car from the survival hull.

With Formula 1 heading to another high-risk site and the Canadian Grand Prix set to follow a week later, team boss Guenther Steiner has warned the team cannot afford a new performance.

“The challenges are that you go from continent to continent, it’s a long journey and the team works very hard to get it all done,” Steiner said of the challenge presented over the two weekends at come.

“It’s just to have a good team and work hard, but it’s a challenge because they only have a few days to get back in place and go for the next race.

“If you have damage on the car, it becomes more difficult, so we hope to have no damage in Baku.”

Formula 1 is working on a more logical flow of its calendar from 2023, grouping events by region where possible to simplify and streamline logistics.

For this weekend, Steiner hopes the team’s VF-22 will prove competitive around the Jekyll and Hyde layout that is Baku City Circuit.

“I think with our car we have made good progress in Spain with the set-up of the car and it is doing well in all circumstances at the moment.

“We have to find the right compromise in the setup and I think we can have a good result as we would have done in Spain and Monte Carlo if things had gone differently.”

Magnussen added: “Hopefully it’s going to be good – long straights, we have a good engine from Ferrari so I don’t foresee any problems. It’s a power-centric track with all the long straights and power is very important.

“There is always a lot of action in Baku – there is a high risk of going out and having yellow flags, safety cars, etc.

“Historically, there have been a lot of safety cars and red flags. I always feel like there are more opportunities in Baku than maybe the average race.

After his disappointing end in Monaco, Schumacher is looking to work his way into the weekend.

“Baku and Monaco are very different, so it’s all about getting into the rhythm there,” he explained.

“I think Baku is going to feel big compared to Monaco, that’s for sure.”

Last year, the German finished 13th in a race that ended in tragedy following a late red flag for Max Verstappen, who suffered a puncture – the second such incident in the race, with Lance Stroll having suffered a similar fate earlier.

Both took place on the long straight, a favorite place for overtaking, with the DRS having proven particularly effective in previous years.

“We know the DRS this year isn’t as strong as it used to be, but I’m sure with the cars able to follow closer we can get to or stay closer to the car in front of us in the final part. from the race track and then maybe we won’t need that high DRS power anymore to get into T1,” Schumacher said.

“We’ll just go with the flow and see how it goes.

“It was one of our best results last season, so hopefully with a more competitive car we can also be higher and have a good race.”

Opening practice in Azerbaijan begins on Friday with Free Practice 1 starting at 9:00 p.m. AEST.

About Victoria Rothstein

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