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magnussen crash f1 mexico gp haas

Outside Line: At this rate Haas Sh!tshow can’t compete in F1

magnussen crash f1 mexico gp haas

I agree wholeheartedly with the damning and shocking declaration Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg delivered after another torrid weekend for the American team: “At this rate, you just can’t compete in F1.”

There have been many apologists for the Haas F1 team, I am not one of these. On occasions, I have had to use a crass but universal sporting term that uniquely and aptly describes Gene Haas’ project: “A Shitshow.” And right now the ‘The Shittest Show’ in F1.” Quote me if you want.

It’s pointless having a go at Guenther Steiner for the state of affairs. He is simply the front man for an operation that’s perenially leaking, juggling too much at once. Sure they plastering MoneyGram over the freshly removed Uralkali stickers. But under the skin, nothing else really changed.

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Their best years were arguably the early ones of Gene’s F1 journey, which began in 2016 amid much opposition from rival F1 teams in the Piranha Pool Paddock of the time. But that was forgotten after a P5 anomaly in the 2018 F1 standings when it dawned that they were also rans.

And when Gene, a constant face at the races during his honeymoon period, realised about 3-4 years into the programme that he would never win in F1 as a poor customer team no matter what he did, his interest went AWOL. You hardly see the guy in the paddock these days.

Since poor Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher were destroyed by the team’s suicidal decision to run two rookies in 2021 without a sliver of pedigree to do so. They provided their newcomers with cars that could’ve killed them and nearly did, ask Mick.

But then came 2022. The new F1 rules plus a rejuvenated Kevin Magnussen alongside a broken Mick. Notably, the Dane left the very same team (and F1) at the end of 2021 because he was tired of not winning races. The high-end IMSA and WEC programs he had lined up would change that.

But then came the call from Haas, they wanted him back and so the “tired of losing in F1” excuse was conveniently forgotten as being last if F1 is better (exposure and money wise) than winning any other series) and life was good in his comeback season. And eighth was okay for the underfunded team.

More was expected from Haas in 2023

hulkenberg magnussen haas f1-001

With veteran Nico Hulkenberg returning from F1 ‘retirement’ yet again to drive the VF23 with his experience preferred over Schumacher who was sent packing.

But this year’s was not much different to the VF22 but drivers and all were told upgrades would come as the rest of their rival teams got better and better with their regular trickle of updates, as the season progressed. But the upgrades failed.

Before that, word from within the paddock was that Haas might run out of parts, and that was even before the latest incident in Mexico on Sunday. That being something breaking on the left rear of the car, as it slammed a curb, and spearing Magnussen hard into the wall.

Prior to that, he was seen slithering all over the track. It was a big one and thankfully emerged from the crash unscathed. But he will be forgiven flashbacks of why he left the team in the first place, apart from the desire to win again, was that he often referred to the Haas cars he left behind as “the worst F1 cars I have ever driven.” Worse than the one he destroyed on Sunday? One wonders

Even with the much-vaunted upgrades that broke cover for their home United States Grand Prix, the Haas Shitshow made their VF23-shitbox worse. Whatever they took off and replaced with new bits did not work.

It’s hard to believe that it took until Round 18 of this season (COTA) for the tech boys to make the car even worse to drive, the tyre wear is now even more abysmal. They simply got all the numbers wrong, yer they thought it wiser to have one big upgrade ‘party’ for the car in Austin as opposed to smaller increments across the previous races.

Steiner’s job appears to be to keep Haas afloat

Formula 1 News: 2023 Mexico City GP Post-Race Steiner's job appears to be to keep Haas afloat

The latter would have surely prevented them from going down the hole they are in now, namely binning all the new bits. Hard to buy any story or excuse Guenther can muster because it is so obvious that there is simply no money funding the team. Bucks buy performance.

Steiner’s job appears to be to keep Haas afloat and, for now, he is their prized asset thanks to his Drive to Survive ‘accidental’ stardom, which is sure to open gullible sponsor doors. I for one won’t be checking in on MoneyGram as I use Western Union for money transfers. If they are as bad as Haas then they’re sh!t. So why bother? If they were on a Red Bull though…

However, what triggered this Outside Line, was the shocker Hulkenberg delivered after the race to reporters: “It was inevitable. We are paying a price for not bringing upgrades and not finding performance.

“Hopefully it is a wake-up call to everybody in the factory because at this rate, you just can’t compete in F1,” declared the veteran German, who went on to suggest the older spec car was better than what they had in the USA and Mexico.

“If the old spec had any real good characteristics, it was more or less competitive in the low speed, and this track is obviously low-speed dominated. I don’t know, I have a feeling that maybe the old-spec would have been better here, but obviously, it is a one-way street for us with the future,” added Hulkenberg, after his 200th Grand Prix. An obvious, ominous warning to his Haas team.

Miracle of Bahrain keeps flashing in my mind

grosjean bahrain crash wreck wires pool fire haas

Which begs the question: How is this team even in F1, the self-styled pinnacle of motorsport? It exists on a pittance, its cars are horrid, torturous and reportedly very dangerous to drive. I don’t know why but the Romain Grosjean Miracle of Bahrain springs to mind. As it also did the instant I saw K-Mag lose it, stopped my heart for a moment until all was well with him.

Being a tad superstitious, I interpreted that little impromptu brake fire that flared up as a signal of sorts, and not a good one. But I am superstitious that way. For the record, my daily morning prayer is: “May all the girls and boys of all ages who race karts, cars, motorbikes etc for sport be safe today.”

For me, the only positive outcome of The Haas Sh!tshow Saga is that F1 simply have no excuse to keep out the other American team banging on the door, namely Michael Andretti’s mega-General Motors-backed and FIA-endorsed entry.

Nevertheless, Chief Naysayer Toto Wolff and his F1 team principal pals have the impudence to question what value Andretti will bring to the sport (which Michael could explain in a 100-page book why he should, compared to the blank page of reasons it should not be included) yet conveniently ignoring the Haas eyesore.

Andretti could ask Wolff and his pals: What value does Haas bring to F1?

Domenicali: Not smart for Andretti to say teams are greedy

And if I were on the Andretti entourage (which I am in spirit!) I would ask the other nine teams: “What value does Haas bring to F1?

And if F1 is a “meritocracy” as Toto loves to say so often, then Haas has no place at the pinnacle of the sport. Because on merit they are probably not even in the top 100 racing organisations in the world. Including their NASCAR effort.

Back to the headline and with what Nico sort-of-said on Sunday in Mexico and the point of this piece: “At this rate, Haas [Sh!tshow] can’t compete in F1”

Is there an end in sight to their plight? Or is Gene simply treading water until his team is worth a billion amid the Netflix-inspired boom times the sport finds itself in these days? I fear the latter. And that’s not good for our sport.

Final word to lucky but surely bruised Magnussen, who told reporters after one of his bigger shunts: “At the beginning of the race the tyres were better. Then suddenly I fell off more than the others then the suspension gave up, so I don’t know if it’s related.”

Big Question: What value does Haas bring to F1?