2022 Performance Review: Haas
Written by Olivia Eyeson, Edited by Ishani Aziz
Haas’ 2021 season was one to forget. Their performances decreased from their already unimpressive 2020 season. New driver line-up Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin weren’t compatible, as shown by incidents like Monaco, where Schumacher made a late move on his teammate. They constantly found themselves last on the timesheet and off the pace of the other backmarkers, leading them to finish last in the constructors with no points.
Despite these shocking results, expectations for the 2022 season were still high, as Guenther Steiner explained;
“I wouldn’t say a holding season, it’s a transitional season, we did this with the expectation that this year, if we invest a lot of time, money, tokens, wind tunnel time – it’s [all for] one year. And we were starting late last year anyway, the car wasn’t our best car. So if you put it all together, it was actually pointless to invest in the short term, it was much more important to invest in the mid and long-term and that is the ’22 regulations.”
Going into the 2022 season, they planned to remain with their previous driver pairing, but following the Russia-Ukraine war that caused sanctions across the sporting world, they replaced Mazepin with Kevin Magnussen. This new driver pairing seemed stronger than the previous one.
With Magnussen clinching a P5 in the opening race at Bahrain, excitement and morale grew in the team as fans hoped to see them return to the midfield. Haas had a number of impressive moments throughout the season, scoring points on seven occasions, a major improvement from 2021.
Furthermore, the team improved massively in qualifying compared to 2021 where they were often out in Q1. This year they appeared in 13 Q3 sessions, showing a huge improvement in the car, though they were out in 17 Q1 sessions and 14 Q2 sessions.
Although the team achieved this success, mistakes were made by both the drivers and the team, including huge crashes from Schumacher, losing them a good handful of points. They finished the season P8 in the constructors with 37 points, a huge step towards their goal of returning to the midfield.
Magnussen’s return was unexpected, but he impressed immediately. His P5 performance in Bahrain despite the short notice on entering the 2022 season was a standout from his season, and he played a massive part in boosting morale in the team. He definitely had moments where he pushed too hard, consequently making unnecessary mistakes, but this was fuelled by passion, which when successful resulted in exceptional performances.
In qualifying, he beat his teammate 16 to six which was expected given Magnussen’s experience over Schumacher. Nevertheless, this doesn’t diminish this achievement, especially after spending a year outside the sport.
His performance at the São Paulo GP qualifying was simply mesmerising. Though luck was on his side with the weather and the strategy, he did a brilliant job of putting in a strong lap in order to clinch the pole.
Best Race: Bahrain, scoring 10 points in the opening round, not knowing you were joining the team at the beginning of the year, is incredible.
Following his 2021 season, expectations were high for Schumacher. People wanted to see how he’d bode against an experienced teammate compared to Mazepin. Compared to Magnussen’s P5, Schumacher’s P11 didn’t impress, worsening with his shunts and crashes.
During the summer, he had an upturn in performance by scoring points back-to-back at Silverstone and Austria. What seemed to be a streak was not continued sadly, taking P20 in Brazil, a stark contrast to Magnussen’s pole. Though I believe that he deserved at least another season to show what he is capable of, Haas can’t be blamed for looking towards a consistent point-scorer, and they can find that in Nico Hülkenburg.
Race of the year: Austrian GP, where he scored at both the sprint and feature race, amassing eight points.
After receiving a late call up to replace Nikita Mazepin, Kevin Magnussen suddenly found himself back in the F1 circus after a year out. Having missed all six days of testing, nothing was expected from the Dane, but he defied all odds, scoring a sensational fifth place, the team’s first in two years. He followed that up with two ninth place finishes in Saudi Arabia and Imola, as well as an eight place in that weekend’s sprint race. From there, Magnussen’s performances became wildly inconsistent, much like the VF22, which made getting into the top 10 a very difficult task. Still, the Dane has only himself to blame of a few opening lap skirmishes in Spain, Canada and Singapore, forcing him to pit and subsequently fall out of contention.Over the course of the season, he was also beaten by his teammate, Mick Schumacher, even in Britain and Austria, where both scored. He did redeem himself again however, with another ninth place at Haas’ home race in Austin and by scoring an unlikely pole position in Brazil, although he would be taken out on the first lap of Sunday’s GP.
Overall, this was a troubled year back in the sport for Magnussen, who despite showing signs of maturity, couldn’t find the necessary consistency to assert himself over his teammate and will have to up his game if he’s to compete with the upcoming Nico Hülkenberg in 2023.
Best race: Bahrain. Defined all odds and scored a magnificent and much needed fifth place, having completed no testing mileage. As his team principal put it, a *insert rude word* Viking comeback.
Mick Schumacher came into 2022 poised and ready to silence his critics. Unfortunately, zero points finishes from the first nine races and two big crashes in Saudi Arabia and Monaco didn’t help his cause and hurt his relationship with team boss Gene Haas. After multiple near misses, the stars finally aligned for Schumacher in Britain, coming from 19th to eighth and fighting Max Verstappen-in a damaged car- for seventh. His battle with another world champion, Lewis Hamilton, the very next weekend on his way to sixth place was an equally good watch.
Unfortunately this was followed by unreliability in Canada and Singapore. Similarly in Spain, and the Netherlands, bad strategies and pit stops prevented Schumacher from adding to his tally of 14 points. Despite losing out to his teammate on Saturdays, reaching Q3 only four times in Spain,Canada, Austria and the Netherlands, he would outrace Magnussen more often than not as the season went on, eventually beating him on Sundays.
The improvement Schumacher showed throughout the season wasn’t enough for Haas however, the team opting not to renew his contract for 2023. But, with a deal to become Mercedes’ reserve driver next year, after also cutting ties with Ferrari, it seems we haven’t seen the last of the young German in F1 just yet.
Best race: Britain. Showed good pace on race day and came back after a bad qualifying to score the first points of his career, battling with the defending world champion in the process.
Magnussen used his limited testing time to adapt to the new spec cars, before a “Viking” comeback saw him secure fifth place, Haas’ highest finish in two-and-a-half years. Magnussen followed this strong performance with a ninth place at Jeddah, a track he’d never driven on. Another ninth place followed later at Imola, after he had qualified a strong fourth for the sprint race, which he came home in eighth. From then on, points were sparse for Magnussen, a barren run until Rounds 10 and 11 at Silverstone and Austria reaping plenty of points for the Dane and Haas.
Yet again, another drought of points would follow, as Haas struggled to match their competitors’ pace regularly, and Magnussen’s tendency to be caught up in incidents on Lap one, before an ambitious strategy saw Magnussen finish ninth in Austin. His qualifying performances were a highlight of his comeback in Formula One, reaching Q3 on nine occasions, before the Holy Grail followed, a maiden pole position for team and driver in a session of changing weather at the penultimate round in Brazil. All in all, it was a strong comeback season for Magnussen in 2022.
Driver Rating - 7/10
Best Race - His drive to fifth at Bahrain was undoubtedly the best race of his season. Qualifying a strong seventh in his first race on returning to the sport, the Dane battled out with Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton in the opening stages, before ultimately making his way through to finish fifth at the chequered flag.
After a tough debut season in 2021, Mick Schumacher’s sophomore season had much more to smile about. This was Schumacher’s first season in a car capable of challenging for points, and he certainly showed his talent and skill. Although his first nine races were non-scores, and included two huge crashes in Saudi Arabia and Monaco, there was light at the end of the tunnel for Schumacher, as he secured his first points in Formula 1 at Silverstone, battling with eventual champion Max Verstappen before ultimately coming home in eighth. Another strong weekend followed at Austria, the German engaging in an exciting battle with Lewis Hamilton in the sprint, before outpacing his teammate Magnussen in the race to finish sixth. Schumacher finished ahead of Magnussen in 13 races across the season.
His points haul of 12 across the season paled in comparison to Magnussen’s 25, and there were many instances when his potential had been masked by Haas messing up on the strategy side of things, or not having out-and-out pace to challenge their rivals. His crashes too cost the team a lot, especially in the era of the budget cap.
Ultimately, Schumacher’s exploits weren’t enough for Haas to retain him for another season, and in the lookout for a driver who can score points regularly, Haas’ dropped Schumacher in favour of a returning Nico Hülkenberg. Yet, with Schumacher signing a deal to be reserve driver for Mercedes, it will be exciting to see how he goes on in this position in the near future.
Rating - 6/10
Best Race - Austrian GP: Schumacher made it into Q3 in qualifying on Friday, securing seventh for Saturday’s sprint race, behind his experienced teammate. During the sprint race, he showed great skill and awareness to hold off the ever-looming Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton for a number of laps, before losing out to the Briton. On race day, Schumacher showed stronger pace compared to his teammate Magnussen, and he took his best finish in the sport, with sixth by the chequered flag.
Kevin Magnussen was a surprise, but very welcome return to the F1 Grid in 2022, after he got an 11th hour call to replace Nikita Mazepin ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix. But his performance in Sakhir suggested that he had never left, claiming an absolutely sensational P5 after qualifying P7, in what Haas team principal, Guenther Steiner labelled a ‘Viking Comeback.’ Although the remainder of the season would not quite reach the same heights. Magnussen continued to impress in the opening rounds, picking up a P9 in Saudi Arabia and Imola, with the Dane qualifying P4 for the spring in the latter. Although Haas would be out-developed as the season went on, he would pick up further points in four events, compared to Schumacher’s two across the entire season. Magnussen comfortably beat his teammate on the Saturday, although they were more evenly matched on the Sunday, particularly toward seasons-end. His ‘do-or-die’ nature cost him at several points throughout the year including in Spain, Canada and Singapore, where points were on the line, but his racing capabilities still proved impressive. His most memorable moment was certainly his shock pole in Brazil, mastering the conditions at the correct moment in one of the most incredible events in recent memory. A season filled with highs, and some lows, but Magnussen proved why he should have remained on the F1 grid, and with the similarly-experienced Nico Hülkenberg impeding next year, Haas have an exciting year ahead.
Best Race: Bahrain, what else? His ‘Viking Comeback’ signified Haas’ return to the points in fine style, as he starred, despite having done no testing and not driving a Formula One car for over a year. A Remarkable Feat.
Mick Schumacher had the opportunity to star in 2022, as the new regulations gave Haas the opportunity to progress into the midfield. Whilst his teammate starred in the opening rounds, Schumacher struggled, continuing his crash-prone nature that he had seemed to develop in 2021, with hefty shunts in Saudi Arabia and Monaco. However, the points he had dreamt of for a year-and-a-half finally arrived at the British Grand Prix, after a thrilling battle with Max Verstappen in the closing laps, picking up a P8 finish. This was immediately followed by his best F1 round at Austria, where he qualified seventh, finished the Sprint in ninth, and came home P6 on Sunday. Sadly Haas ultimately opted for Nico Hülkenberg for 2023, with Schumacher relegated to a reserve role with Mercedes. Schumacher’s pace differential to Magnussen is over-exaggerated, as he matched, and on occasion beat the Dane in 2022, but only once point-scoring opportunities had faded for Haas. Another lacklustre year probably meant an F1 seat wasn’t warranted for 2023, although I would not be surprised if we see him again.
Best Race: Austria - by far and away the most comfortable he has looked in an F1 car, as he showed that on his day, he could compete towards the top of the midfield.