Haas’s growing strength means the outfit can “absolutely” target to replace Renault as the best of the rest in the constructors’ standings, says team boss Gunther Steiner.
The young American team jumped their nearest rivals Force India and McLaren after their sensational double point finish at the Austrian GP. Romain Grosjean broke his bad luck spiral by taking the fourth place while his teammate Kevin Magnussen took the fifth place at the chequered flag.
Haas is just 13 points behind the fourth-placed Renault and Steiner is confident they can easily jump another place.
When asked if the coveted fourth place is realistic for them, he said: “Absolutely. You cannot just target fifth because we are fifth now – you need to always try to get more.
“Luck goes around. Sometimes somebody gets lucky and somebody else gets unlucky.
“Renault is a strong team, they know what they are doing, and for sure they will not make it easy for us. We got lucky to have three more positions than we normally would have, but again, now we can try to fight but we have also to keep the other ones behind us.
“Force India and McLaren are still very strong as well. Today we got a little bit of a leg up to come back. We will try to get to fourth. If we achieve it or not, we don’t know, but sure, you always try to go forward.”
The team’s excellent results in Austria made up for their losses at Australia, Steiner agreed.
“I think it’s a redemption. We got back. Everybody was ‘Oh the team must be demoralised’ and all that. They never were. Everybody knows the potential of the car, and if you know the potential, then it will come if you work hard. And it came.
“This is fantastic, the 50th race, to finish fourth and fifth is for the guys. You can imagine how happy they are – both cars in the points, Romain scored for the first time this year. And heavy points, not just a few. It’s just a very successful weekend.”
The biggest satisfaction comes from beating teams much bigger than them, Steiner added: “It’s nice, and it’s a credit to our team. We are only in total a little bit more than 200 people working on this car, and we are fighting with teams which have got 600-plus people. It’s a fantastic place to be. Everybody within the team can be proud of achieving that.”
Speaking of the team’s success, team owner Gene Haas said being consistent was the main ingredient of the team’s success and their results from Austria proves it.
Haas said: “We were lucky this weekend,”
“Who knows, we might not be lucky next weekend.
“I think that shows how close it is. I know Renault had mechanical problems that happens to us all the time. We’ve got to be consistent.
“This is probably one of the first races in a long time where we got all three days right, we got Friday, Saturday and Sunday right, and that’s what it takes.
“It’s been a long road, but it never comes easy. We’ve always been kind of weak in the mid-season, so this is a good time to make it up. We can finish like this in the points every other race, it’s a whole new team.
“With our bad luck I was hoping we would make it to the last lap without hitting something, and we did it. So who knows, maybe we’ve broken that bad string of luck!”