Haas has a golden chance to take advantage of Renault’s engine vulnerability at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and try their best to jump to the sixth place in the constructors’ championship.
The American team is in the eighth place in the team standing, six points behind Toro Rosso who is now the sixth and only two points behind Renault.
The team could get an extra $6.5m in prize payments if they make it to the sixth place since they came eighth in their rookie season last year.
Haas F1 boss Gunther Steiner says after Renault engines suffered at the Mexican and Brazilian races, there are chances that both the teams may either experience engine trouble again or incur grid penalties, either of which gives Haas a good opening.
“Renault seems to be a little bit frail at the moment in all three teams, so that can come our way,” said Steiner.
“I think with the engine we don’t have an issue, to be honest. You can always have a failure, but there’s not a bigger risk than there was at the races before. The engine this year was pretty reliable.
“But we still need to get out car in the points. Even if they finish behind us and we are 11th and 12th, nothing changes, We need to do a very good race weekend, and then hope that maybe they’ve got some issues.”
Renault also has a spares problem which brings even Red Bull cars into the problem frame. Without new spares, three teams (Renault, Red Bull and Toro Rosso) are in peril in case something goes wrong.
However, as a team, there is nothing more Haas could do to help get to the sixth, except for making the best use of other team’s weakness Steiner added.
“You just try to do as good as always,” said Steiner. “If there was anything we could do special, we would have done it already. That maybe sounds too simple, but in F1 if you have something, you always try to do it all the time.
“There’s nothing to lose, but there was nothing to lose in Brazil, I think. I don’t think we’ll do anything crazy or mad, not to say stupid. There’s no need.
“I think we’ll try to do a good job and just go out there and hope we’ve got a good weekend, and maybe get some points, and the other ones don’t. But there’s nothing we’ve got up our sleeve that we can do specially for this event.”
Apart from the prize money, the prestige of getting the sixth is equally important, Steiner insisted. It would be a good indicator that the team is progressing and improving on its earlier season, he said.
“It’s always nice to get more,” he added. “Who would say that three or four million doesn’t make a difference? Everything makes a difference, even 100,000. You’d rather have it than not have it.
“I think more than the money, it’s how close we were, and we missed it. Sixth place at the moment is only six points away.
“If you think if we had six points more, it would be a great season, from sixth to eighth is great. From eighth [last year] to eighth is like, yeah, we did more of the same. Which is true.
“You think of the money, but money is not everything. Six points more, we would be sixth, it would be a fantastic season, and we could talk for a long time off it. But it’s racing, it’s sport. Some you win, some you lose.
“But it’s not lost yet, I want just to say that, we haven’t given up on Sunday that we are sixth. It will be difficult, we’re not dreaming and sitting here, ‘yeah, we will end up sixth’.
“We will try to get the best out of it we can. We’ve been unlucky a few times, maybe we can get a bit lucky. You never know. For sure, we will miss the millions.”