'Damage control' the aim at Haas as team focuses on 2022

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Haas admit this season will be about "damage control" as the team puts all their focus on 2022.

After their best result in Formula 1 finishing fifth in 2018, the American outfit slumped to ninth in the Constructors' standings in the two years since.

Last year, Covid-19 also took a big financial toll on Haas, and it's for that reason they have decided not to develop their 2021 car beyond what will be launched in Bahrain next week.

"It will be quite a challenging season going forward, we know about that and we've braced ourselves for it," team boss Guenther Steiner admitted recently.

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"We'll do as much as we can for this year for the mid-term, compromise the short term for the gains on the mid-to long term. That's our plan at the moment.

"Yeah, there is that risk, but we need to live with that risk. We need to see the big picture is the mid-to-long term, it's not the short term.

"If we just see the short term, then in '22 it will be, 'Why didn't we do the '22 car? Because now we cannot catch up.'

"It's very difficult to catch up with the aero restrictions and the budget cap. So you put as much in as you can on the front end."

For this year, Haas has also taken a new approach with their drivers, replacing the experience of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen with two rookies in Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher.

But with expectations for this season so low, Steiner admits the main emphasis is also on getting both youngsters up to speed for 2022.

"Damage control, trying to do the best," he said on Haas' goals. "For me, success would be to get two drivers prepared for the future by the end of the year.

"So in 2022, we don't have any issues anymore, where we say these are rookie drivers and they still need to learn.

"They learn for a year, and I think it is a good opportunity because the pressure will not be as high as when you have a good car. So I think our ambitions are realistic.

"We just want to do the best we can. Hopefully, we can get some points now and then but it will be tough – and we are braced for it."