Guenther Steiner has admitted Haas' decision to fully focus on the new 2022 F1 regulations was the “only realistic option” for the American outfit.

With F1's technical regulation overhaul on the horizon, Haas confirmed ahead of the new season it would not be developing its 2021 challenger with its full focus on next year.

Speaking on the Australian Grand Prix podcast - In the Fast Lane - Steiner revealed it was a “tough decision” to make but one that had Haas’ long-term interests in mind given the financial difficulties it endured during the COVID-affected 2020 season.

“It actually wasn’t a difficult decision,” it was a tough decision because you know what you’re going to do, Steiner explained. “I think it was the only realistic option we had to get the best out of it. I am not just thinking about tomorrow or the short term… the teams, now there are 100s of people involved, lots of suppliers, so you need to make sure that you’re here for the future, not only for the next weekend.

“It started in ‘19 when there was a regulation change and our car wasn’t as good as it was before so we started on the backfoot. We went to Australia but we didn’t start the race and then all of a sudden everything was in doubt. It wasn’t like ‘how are we going to perform?’ it was more like ‘are we actually coming back next year in ‘21?’ That all started and we didn’t know if F1 was racing at all in ‘20, so it was quite difficult.”

Steiner doesn’t regret the decision to give up completely on 2021 and believes it is a case of ‘taking one step back, to take two steps forward’.

“Once I realised what was happening, the only option for us to move forward to go back to the form that we had in 16, 17 and 18, was to take a step back to take two forward and that meant to face reality and say: we will have a transitional season in ‘21, make some changes and get ready for ‘22, that was the only realistic option,” Steiner added.

“It was tough but I still think it’s the right decision. I fully support it. At the time, it was the right decision to do.”

On current form, it’s unlikely Haas will be able to score points on merit in 2021.

Steiner remains hopeful that team morale will remain high despite the lack of good results. 

“We have on our side that we have got two good young drivers,” Steiner said. “Success will not be measured in points but how much progress these guys are making because we’ve got two young guys that want to make it and we know they will get ready for next year.

“We’re making progress. We’ve done two races now and we’ve made big progress and people can see that the guys are getting better and better. I hope that continues that you can see a real step forward until race 10 and then we are halfway through the season and to keep the morale going, we need to show the guys in the team the light at the end of the tunnel with the new car for ‘22.”