Haas will run two different specifications of car for Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen at the Las Vegas Grand Prix this weekend, based on driver preference.
Guenther Steiner’s team introduced a major update at the United States Grand Prix last month but still found itself struggling with many of the race pace issues that had impacted its season. While the upgrade has had an impact, Hulkenberg prefers the previous specification of car so Steiner says the team is allowing the drivers to choose the parts they want to run in Las Vegas.
“The main drive behind this was Nico feels that for him the old spec suits him better, and Kevin is the opposite,” Steiner said. “We’ve opted to give them what they want, we have two races to go and nothing to lose, so we’ve tried to do what we can.
“We could discuss gathering data, but we’ve got enough data, it’s a decision based on what each driver likes more than anything else. It puts them in a comfortable position so that they’re as happy as they can be with the car they get.”
Away from the sporting challenge of the new race in Las Vegas, Steiner is impressed simply by the attempt to host a grand prix on the Strip, and expand Formula 1’s footprint in the United States.
“I think we all have an expectation, but we know what Las Vegas is about. It’s hard to imagine exactly what it will be like, but it will be a very cool event and something completely different from anything done before in Formula 1.
“To put such effort into racing in a city like Las Vegas is challenging, to say the least, and to make it happen a few years ago was impossible to think about, let alone say. Let’s see what it will be like, but it will surely set a standard for a lot of things in the sport going forward.
“I think it’s fantastic to have three races in the States, especially as the American team. Five or 10 years ago, who’d have thought that we’d have more than one race in the US, now we’ve got three and they’re all very different events – as they would be if we were racing in different continents, not just country. I think it’s good for Formula 1 and the American fans who are coming more to watch and support.
“The standout point for me is the difference between each race. You go to Austin, which is a more ‘traditional’ race with lots of hardcore fans, and then you go to Miami where it’s party central, and then let’s see what Vegas brings. We know it won’t ever be sleeping and we’re racing at night, which is completely different again.”