The Haas F1 team had a difficult season in 2021 but, with drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin both returning, the American squad will be hoping for better in 2022.
Schumacher & Magnussen
F1 season 2022
How the Haas F1 dream started
Gene Haas established Haas F1 during the early part of Formula 1’s turbo-hybrid era. Originally, Haas were set to make their debut in the pinnacle of motorsport in 2015, but this was postponed to the start of the 2016 F1 season.
Guenther Steiner has been Team Principal at Haas since the squad first arrived in the sport, and he is well-known for his charismatic, no-nonsense personality. Steiner became popular with many F1 fans thanks to his appearances on Netflix’s Drive To Survive series, where he has often been heard to swear extensively.
The team’s headquarters are located in Kannapolis, North Carolina, in the United States, alongside sister team and NASCAR entrant Stewart-Haas Racing, though the two outfits are separate entities. Haas also have a forward base in Banbury, UK, for the purpose of turning cars around between races during the European part of the calendar, whilst their power units are supplied by Ferrari in Italy.
An impressive start for Haas
Haas became the first American constructor to compete in F1 since the unrelated Haas Lola outfit raced in the 1985 and 1986 seasons. The 2016 Australian Grand Prix saw Haas make their debut with drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez, and it went brilliantly.
Grosjean started down in 19th at the Albert Park track, but climbed up the order and took advantage of a red flag to finish in sixth. Grosjean’s result marked the first time that an American entry had scored points at their maiden Grand Prix, and it was also the first time that a new constructor had earned points on their debut since Toyota in 2002.
Another remarkable result followed at the Bahrain Grand Prix, when Grosjean finished in fifth place. It was Haas’ best result that year, and Grosjean scored all of the team’s 29 points as Gutierrez struggled. Nevertheless, it was the best debut for a new Formula 1 team this century.
The start of a long-term partnership
Having finished eighth in the 2016 F1 Constructors’ Championship, Haas repeated that feat with Grosjean and former McLaren and Renault driver Kevin Magnussen, who joined the team for the 2017 Formula 1 season.
Haas started the campaign well, showing great pace which was highlighted with their first double points finish at the Monaco Grand Prix. The American outfit scored 47 points, but more was to come.
Haas’ best ever season in F1
The 2018 Formula 1 season saw Haas often at the front of the midfield battle, only behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. It was nearly an incredible beginning to their campaign at that year’s Australian Grand Prix.
Haas locked out the third row of the grid in fifth and sixth, whilst the race was equally as remarkable, given that Grosjean and Magnussen were at one stage running in fourth and fifth. However, it all went wrong at the pit-stops when both drivers failed to have one of their tyres fitted properly, resulting in a double DNF.
At the Austrian Grand Prix, Haas redeemed themselves by scoring fourth and fifth, their best result in F1 to date. Magnussen went on to record Haas’ first-ever fastest lap at the Singapore Grand Prix.
A fuel infringement and an illegal floor led to disqualifications in the United States and Italian Grands Prix respectively, which hampered Haas’ chances to beat Renault in the Constructors’ Championship. Nevertheless, the team ended the season in fifth, which remains their best F1 campaign to date.
The downfall begins and Rich Energy saga
Haas had been on a high in 2018, but endured a tough season in 2019 as they struggled to find the optimal tyre working window throughout the year. The Australian Grand Prix went well for the team as Magnussen finished sixth, but that would be Haas’ best result of the campaign.
In Austria, Magnussen was on the pace with an excellent fifth in qualifying. However, he simply went backwards in the race and finished down in 19th, which underlined Haas’ troubles with the Pirelli rubber.
The off-track talk became the other big story for Haas as their title sponsor, Rich Energy, caused mayhem. Leading up to the British Grand Prix, the Rich Energy Twitter account announced that the sponsorship deal had been terminated, due to poor performances. This was denied by Haas and Rich Energy’s shareholders.
At that race, Grosjean and Magnussen collided on the first lap which subsequently caused both drivers to retire, much to the anger of Steiner. Rich Energy faced multiple legal issues in 2019 and announced the termination of their deal with the Haas F1 team with immediate effect after the Italian Grand Prix.
Haas finished the season in ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship with 28 points, the team’s worst finish since their founding in 2016.
More poor performances
Haas retained their driver line-up of Grosjean and Magnussen for a fourth consecutive F1 campaign in 2020. However, things did not get any better.
A tyre gamble at the Hungarian Grand Prix helped Magnussen to 10th place, which proved to be his best result of the year. Grosjean finished ninth at Imola, and this was Haas’ second and only other points finish in a dreadful season.
But the results didn’t matter at the Bahrain Grand Prix, as Grosjean experienced a terrifying accident. The Frenchman heavily hit the wall at the inside of Turn 3, causing the car to split in two and go up in flames. Somehow, he escaped with just severe burns in one of the most dramatic moments in Formula 1 history.
Grosjean never raced in F1 again and was replaced by Pietro Fittipaldi for the final two races. Remarkably, Grosjean recovered and began racing in IndyCar in 2021.
A new set of drivers
Magnussen and Grosjean both left Haas and Formula 1 at the end of 2020. The team instead opted to go for a bold rookie driver pairing for 2021 in the form of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
Even before the new season had begun, Haas admitted that they were using 2021 as a transitional year and were fully focused on 2022, when new technical regulations are introduced into F1.
As it was, 2021 proved to be a challenging year for the squad, and Schumacher and Mazepin found themselves running at the back of the field for most of the campaign. There were also some run-ins on track between the two rookies, with a particularly controversial incident happening at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Mazepin appeared to make a very late high-speed move on Schumacher during the final lap of the race, nearly causing a collision between the pair. A furious Schumacher was heard to shout over the radio: “Is he trying to kill us or something?”
Despite the clash, Mazepin recorded his best finish of the year at Baku by ending the race in 14th. Schumacher, meanwhile, had a particularly strong weekend in Hungary, where a chaotic opening lap resulted in several front-runners either being eliminated from the race or pushed down the order. This meant that Schumacher was able to run in the points for a time.
The German also enjoyed a battle with Max Verstappen at one stage, which he later stated was one of his highlights of the year. Schumacher finished the race in 12th, a best result of the season both for himself and for Haas.
Haas ended the campaign on something of a low note, with Mazepin forced to miss the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19, whilst Schumacher finished the race in 14th, the last car to be classified.
With no points to their name, the American outfit placed at the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship.
© Haas F1 Team
Hopes of improvement in 2022
Schumacher and Mazepin will again race for Haas in 2022, and it sounds like their on-track run-ins may cause less tension in future, with Steiner saying that the relationship between the two drivers has “improved”.
The Team Principal has also spoken of his hopes that the team can make their way back up to the midfield, given the opportunity provided by the new regulations being introduced into the sport.
Schumacher is looking forward to the year ahead, in which he will take on Ferrari reserve driver duties alongside his Haas role, and feels positive about the team’s ability to make a step forward.