In fact, Haas is not known for making big stretches in the second part of the season. But this season things are different. There was already a new front wing at Zandvoort. But what is coming now is much bigger than that. The American racing team’s engineers have reached an impasse regarding their car concept, which is closely based on Ferrari’s concept. No matter what they do in the wind tunnel or in computer virtual development (CFD): things are no longer moving forward.
The concept with its wide, high side pods and cooling fins integrated into the sump has stagnated in further development. Engineers can no longer find any additional downforce and cannot truly reduce air resistance. In a fast-moving world like Formula 1, standing still means going backwards. So a radical change is needed. The team will be led by Guenther Steiner this year.
Haas with completely new side horns
For the home game in the USA, which takes place next weekend in Austin (Texas), the Haas team will turn its VF-23 system on its head. The first renderings provide a preview of the major renovation. It at least indicates the destination of the journey, even if the basis is still the model from “F1 23”. The American team sent these computer graphics to draw attention to the special design of the USA Grand Prix. The new look features the “stars and stripes” of the American flag on the front and side of the car. Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen wear matching racing suits.
However, what’s even more interesting for technology enthusiasts is that the images provide at least a first glimpse of what a completely revamped Haas VF-23 could look like. Which direction are you going? Otherwise, the American racing team could have simply envisioned a new paint job on the old design.
However, the side box will have a different shape. It should be clear at first glance who inspired Haas. The major expansion phase follows Red Bull’s design philosophy, where the bathtub disappears and a ramp is instead created at the top of the side box. It specifically directs the flow through the inside of the wheels towards the roof of the diffuser. Clean airflow in this area is especially important for the lower body and diffuser to work well.
Learning for VF-24
The new side sill also changes the shape of the hood. The list of new parts continues with the bottom part. It is the most important and at the same time the most sensitive element in ground effect vehicles. Here too, Haas is said to have imitated Red Bull.
Naturally, we hope that the major expansion phase will improve lap times as quickly as possible. But that may be difficult, especially on our soil. Drivers and engineers only get training to understand the new package and adjust the setup. Qualifying starts on Friday evening. Since then it has become the Vermeer Garden.
What’s more important for Haas is to look to the future: is the relationship between the wind tunnel, CFDs and reality valid? Does the new approach create more scope for vehicle development? This is crucial, especially considering 2024: Haas wants to get out of the conceptual trap it has fallen into and move to a forward midfield in the new season with changed aerodynamics. The findings by GP USA should guide engineers to a more efficient VF-24 path.
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