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Racing

Frugal Haas F1 Team Finds Ingenious Way to Cut Costs

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Formula 1 teams are still striving to shave off costs where possible in the budget cap era, and the Haas F1 team has found a novel way of cutting down.

The team’s pit wall—sometimes affectionately referred to as a ‘prat perch’—has been shrunk, and is now only wide enough to fit three team personnel. Historically several senior team members sit on these structures, located in the tiny gap between the pit lane and the track, during the course of the Grand Prix weekend.

That decision to downsize the equipment—with those ‘evicted’ from the pit wall now placed in the garage—will save Haas an estimated $250,000 in freight costs through the season (which is covered by the cap) and it is money that can be diverted towards extra development of the VF-23 race car.

“When you need to make efficiencies, you look at everything,” said Haas team principal Guenther Steiner. “When you need money to invest in development because we have the cost cap, where do you put it? (Would we rather) have six people out there, or a quarter of a million on car updates?

Meanwhile, World Champion Red Bull has seating for seven at at its command center on pit row, and those seats are filled at race time.

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“I know what we are doing, and the guys came up with that idea. If I need to stay inside (the garage), I have no problem to as well. I don’t need to be there [on the pit wall]. With three seats, we can cover what we need to cover and we rearrange. It’s mainly a saving to put that money into development because we are at the cost cap.”

Haas is in a much sturdier position versus 12 months ago, given a longer lead time and the addition of a new title sponsor in MoneyGram, and will have a more aggressive development strategy, having only brought one major package change to the 2022 car.

“This year we could plan a lot better as well because last year everything was late and we couldn’t look too far forward, we just needed to get to the first race,” said Steiner. “This year, by signing everything off a little bit earlier, we could start a little bit earlier with the development and have a better plan to put them on the car.”

Both Kevin Magnussen and F1 returnee Nico Hülkenberg were encouraged by the platform the VF-23 should provide Haas, indicating that it will be firmly in that midfield battle.

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