Guenther Steiner admits there was a “big chance” Haas would have had to quit Formula 1 due to the financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as he labelled surviving 2020 as the team’s biggest achievement.

The coronavirus outbreak heavily delayed the start of this year’s F1 world championship and resulted in a big hit to the teams’ earnings due to a severe loss in revenue usually received from race promoters and broadcasters.

Haas owner Gene Haas had been weighing up the US outfit’s future in F1 prior to the pandemic and had the opportunity to pull out at the end of the year, but a series of cost-saving measures and the prospect of new regulations aimed at creating fairer competition ultimately prompted him to sign the new Concorde deal to commit to the sport.

On-track, Haas has endured a disappointing season and lies ninth in the constructors’ championship having scored just three points from 14 races. It is five points adrift of Alfa Romeo heading into the final three rounds of the disrupted 2020 season.

“What have we done right? We survived, that's what we have done right,” Steiner said when he addressed the media ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

"I think I'll leave it at that one. I think there was a big chance that we are not here anymore, and I think everybody pulled together, and we are here to stay.

"All-in-all, maybe we haven't been good at the track this year, but I think we have been good for the future of Haas F1, and also for F1.

"As much as we think they don't need us, I think F1 needs people or teams like Haas F1.”

Despite admitting he was “not unhappy” that a gruelling season was soon coming to an end, Steiner praised F1’s achievement of managing to organise a 17-round world championship against the odds.

"It was amazing that they pulled this one off," Steiner explained.

"After Australia it seemed this thing will be over pretty soon, and it wasn't, it kept running on, and every day was a new day of bad news.

"So I think to pull off 17 races it's great that FOM got it done, but it's the same to be said about the teams that got it done, all of the 10 teams.

"It's difficult to explain, but after Australia, we were not aware of what was coming. We were thinking this will be over pretty soon, and it wasn't. I think they did the right things.

"We had a very interesting season on a sporting level, everything was good, except we didn't have spectators there, and we don't have the income.

"We kept the sport going. I wouldn't say [it was] a good year, but it wasn't a bad year, it could have been a lot worse.

"I think it was a great job from all the people at FOM to get all these races in."

After deciding to axe both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen at the end of the season, Haas is expected to sign Formula 2 frontrunners Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin for 2021.

Steiner insisted that an announcement regarding its driver line-up for next season would be made "soon". 

 

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