Upon taking over from Steiner in January, new chief Ayao Komatsu warned that Haas would start the season near the last row on the grid after the development of its new car got held up during the course of 2023.

But Haas performed well above those expectations so far, scoring points in the last two grands prix in Saudi Arabia and Australia and moving up to seventh ahead of point-less Williams, Alpine and Sauber.

In addition to solid one-lap place that sees it compete with sixth-place R.B.Haas has also cured most of its crippling tire wear issues that plagued it throughout last season.

Steiner says that based on the wind tunnel numbers Haas’ decent start to 2024 shouldn’t come as a big surprise and felt it wasn’t right to play down its expectations to such a degree.

“They did a good job and I always told Gene Haas that I actually had it right on where they ended up to be, because I knew the numbers from the wind tunnel,” said Steiner, who has since turned to TV work and has been announced as an ambassador for May’s Miami Grand Prix.

“I think in the beginning they played it down to have an excuse to start off with and then it was better than they expected. That is for me wrong to do. And I think everyone was convinced it was this path, I was convinced that’s what it was.

“But in my opinion it’s not about this year, it’s about the mid-term. You can go from year to year and every year you can say: ‘Oh, we are bad’ and then you do better than you are.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

While not directly claiming credit for the 2024 car himself, he praised former technical director Simone Resta, who has since been signed by Mercedes in a more strategic role, for the team’s turnaround.

“I’m not saying I, I say the team and Simone Resta did a good job because the car was done last year, it was done before I left,” he said. The car was finished, it was in assembly already.”

But Steiner says he has “no bad feelings” about leaving and was pleased to see the people he worked with for years being rewarded with a good start to the new season.

“I’m very happy for the team that they score points, because I like these guys, a lot of people are there since the beginning, so I have no bad feelings about that.

“I’m actually pretty happy when they score points, because I know the technical team in Italy did a good job last year. They worked very, very hard to produce the car that is running now.

“Only time will tell what’s happening in the future.”

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