Haas won't bring upgrades before 2020 budget is secure

Jonathan Noble

As F1 aims to start its new season at the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5, there remains great uncertainty about how many races there will be, and how much commercial rights income teams will get.

That far-from-clear situation has prompted Haas to decide to not commit to upgrades on its car for now, so it can be sure that it has the money to get to the end of the year.

Speaking to selected media including Motorsport.com on a video conference call on Thursday, team principal Gunther Steiner said: "In the moment we are not planning any upgrades until we know exactly what we are doing this year budget wise, and what we are doing race wise.

"I cannot spend money which I don't know if I've got. There is no point to do that in the moment.

"We have to be very cautious with what we are doing, because obviously you know the income is going down in having less races and having races without spectators. So, until it's very clear I'm very cautious."

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While holding fire on car developments means there is a risk Haas could fall behind rivals, or find out too late it has the funds to make better parts, Steiner thinks a far worse situation would be to overspend now and find out later that income is much less than predicted.

"You need to make decisions now," he explained. "The worst would be to spend the money now and then not have the money to do the upgrades. That is no help."

And, as Haas found out last year when a mid-season upgrade derailed its campaign, there can be too much faith put in new parts when good results can still come from optimising an older package.

"We learned quite a lot about upgrades," added Steiner. "They are never as big as you hope they are. Because in these days, you can do quite a lot on the first car. So, in our opinion, it's not a necessity to have them.

"What is really needed for us is not to make mistakes. That will be decisive. That is why we went down that road in not risking that we are planning for something which we then cannot afford.

"That would be worse because then you cannot go to the last grands prix. Then for sure that wouldn't give us any points if you don't get the money.

"So it's just how you manage your company and we're happy to do it like this. We know what we're doing, and we are happy with the decision."