Haas Formula 1 team principal Guenther Steiner says the American squad is still no closer to understanding its “very weird” performance fluctuations throughout the 2019 season.

In stark contrast to 2018 - in which it finished fifth in the championship - Haas has struggled so far this campaign and scored just 26 points from the opening 12 rounds of the year, leaving the team languishing ninth in the constructors’ standings.

Haas’ main struggles have been related to tyre performance and keeping Pirelli’s 2019-spec rubber in the optimum window during races.

“I still haven't understood these tyres, the Hard one doesn't last as long as the Soft one and it’s all over the place,” Steiner said. “I think there will be a lot of questions asked on that one, we need to analyse it.

“I don't want to jump to a conclusion, but Kevin on C4 [Softs], he wasn't slow. It is very, very weird, the whole thing to me still for what is actually going on.

“Some of it we understand but some of it is so random, like yesterday... between Q1 and Q2 is like I don't know... What can you say?

“We didn't change anything on the car, so it cannot be the car, I guess. The temperature changes and that changes everything.

“I think nobody knows,” he added. “Look at some of the cars and how they dropped off, the tyres. Everything is very all over the place, in my opinion.

“And again, we haven't done the analysis of these tyres, but it was like... the Hard tyre, you have to change them.”

The US outfit has spent the last three grand prix weekends splitting its car set-ups between its drivers - with Romain Grosjean sticking to a Melbourne-spec VF19 and Kevin Magnussen running an upgraded package - in a bid to seek answers, but the team remains perplexed heading into the summer break.

“You cannot just live day by day,” he explained. “You need to see the bigger picture as well, and that is part of what you need to do.

“You cannot just get eaten up on the weekend, and then you try to go back to a mission what you want to do also in future.

“And there is a short-term, medium-term and long-term which you have to have in your mind and just act accordingly, but never panicking because that doesn’t help.”

Asked what he believes is a realistic target for Haas in the remaining nine races, Steiner replied: “A battle. A realistic target result-wise? I have no idea.

“But to get as much of an understanding as possible between the tyre and the car. The car we have influence on obviously but the tyre, if that is ruling what your aero does then we can’t do a lot about it.

“And to find that out is difficult because we haven’t got another tyre to test on with something. I don’t really know but to get a good understanding so we are not falling into this trap next year.”

 

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