Kannapolis-based Haas F1 Team preps for Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

AUTODROMO NAZIONALE MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 09: Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22 during the Italian...
AUTODROMO NAZIONALE MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 09: Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22 during the Italian GP at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Friday September 09, 2022 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images)(Glenn Dunbar | Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images)
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 5:20 AM CDT
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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - From the glitz and glamour of Miami to the tradition and history of Italy, the Kannapolis-based MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season will continue with Round 6, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team arrives at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari – more commonly known as Imola – seventh in the Constructors’ Championship, buoyed by three points finishes in five grands prix. The target is to add to that tally on the occasion of MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s 150th race.

Those 149 events to date have yielded 245 points, two fastest laps, best grid and race positions of fourth respectively, and one highly memorable pole position. MoneyGram Haas F1 Team has raced 15,350 laps in Formula 1, equivalent to 77,415km, which is almost twice around the world.

Kevin Magnussen raced at Formula 1′s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in 2020 and 2022 – last year qualifying fourth for the Sprint event before scoring points in both the Sprint and the grand prix. Nico Hulkenberg has never before raced in any category at Imola, marking new territory for the veteran.

Imola is nestled in the heart of Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, famed for its cuisine, culture and car industry. Imola initially joined Formula 1′s calendar in 1980 and was a mainstay from 1981 under the title of the San Marino Grand Prix, as a nod to the nearby microstate enclaved by Italy. Imola fell by the wayside after its 2006 event but landed an improbable return in 2020 when Formula 1 required suitable venues during its pandemic-hit season.

Imola’s surprise comeback proved popular and it was retained for 2021 before securing a multi-year extension under the guise of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The 4.9km circuit is a challenging proposition that requires a precise approach owing to its narrow nature and limited run-off. That throwback element is heightened by the circuit winding its way between the residential avenues of Imola, where fans clamber for viewing opportunities from the verdant parklands and the balconies of the weathered terracotta houses.

Guenther Steiner – Team Principal:

A point at our first home race of the season and another spectacular event in Miami. Can you summarize your Miami Grand Prix?

“It was the busiest race ever for MoneyGram Haas F1 Team. All our partners, sponsors, on-track action and all that was happening seemed to be the most eventful race weekend since Haas started. All in all, it was a very good weekend. Everybody seemed to be happy, the Miami Grand Prix put on a good show for the fans, for the teams, and we got a point.”

The first upgrade of the season was brought to Miami, focusing on the floor. What’s the initial feedback and what else can you share at this stage about the development program for this season?

“The upgrade which we brought to the race track is working, so well done to the whole team to get this developed, produced and put it in action for Miami. We’ve got more coming this year, we said we’re bringing little steps, we’re not bringing one big upgrade package. We’re bringing something new to Imola and when we find something in development, we will bring it to the track.”

Looking ahead to Round 6 of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s 150th race. From the creation of the team in 2014, our first race in 2016 and the seven full seasons we’ve competed in to-date, what memories stand out for you and what has being the Team Principal of MoneyGram Haas F1 Team meant to you?

“What stood out for me is when we got to the race track in Melbourne in 2016 because we had so many people saying we wouldn’t make it. We made it, we’re still here and that makes me proud for the whole team. We scored points in our first race which hasn’t happened many times before in Formula 1 history as well. For me, it means a lot starting a team, it’s a dream for many to start a team and I could do it thanks to Gene Haas who allowed us to do this. We’re in a good position now and we just try to get stronger and stronger, and we will.”

We’ve talked about our history, but what are the present and future objectives of this team?

“The present objective this year is to move up in the Constructors’ Championship from last year, getting better every year – it’s as simple as this – and at some stage we want to be winning races. I don’t know how far away it is and I’m not going to say it’s this season or next season, but at some stage, it will happen with Haas.”

Kevin Magnussen:

One point and a positive update to the car on first impression in Miami. Can you summarize your Miami Grand Prix?

“The Miami Grand Prix was a very good weekend for us. Of course, we only got one point but surely one point is better than none and what we always strive to do is get into the top 10 and score points at every weekend, and we managed to do that. On a more general note, the car was strong all the way through the weekend and the upgrade that we brought for this race seemed to be working pretty well so it looks like we’ve made a step forward, which is very positive. Furthermore, it was great to have a good result in front of our home crowd and our partners. All in all, it was a fun event.”

Formula 1 heads to Italy for the start of the European season, how does that change your preparation and schedule?

“We’re back on European time, so no more jet lag for a little while. Back to more traditional Formula 1 events, some really cool tracks that it’s good to get back to, and apart from that, it’s business as usual. I’m hopeful to continue the strong form and score some points.”

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s 150th race, of which you’ve competed in 106 for the team. It’s been a long and unique relationship – what’s special about this team to you and can you share some of your favorite memories, on and off the track?

“That’s a big number! It doesn’t feel like that much as it’s all gone by very quickly. It’s been a fantastic ride so far and we’ve had some super special moments – of course topped by the pole position last year in Brazil, but there’s been many more exciting moments. It’s always been an extra successful feeling scoring big points with this team because it’s such a small team in a very big sport, competing against some giant organizations. We’ve truly come from being real underdogs to being an established Formula 1 team. We’re still one of the smaller ones but the growth and the journey overall has been phenomenal, and I’m very happy to have been a part of it so far and hoping to have many more years.”

Nico Hulkenberg:

The Miami Grand Prix once again showed the competitiveness of the VF-23 and provided positive indications on the floor upgrade. How would you evaluate your Miami Grand Prix?

“The floor upgrade already felt good in Miami, now we need to optimize that on a track with more grip and additionally we have something new for Imola that makes me look forward to the weekend with confidence.”

Formula 1 heads to Italy for the start of the European season, and a circuit you haven’t raced at before. What are your initial thoughts on the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari and is it nice to return to Europe for the start of this triple-header?

“After the many long trips, I am now looking forward to some shorter distances and the first triple-header of the season! Imola is obviously a historic and prestigious place in the F1 calendar, which is why I’m really excited to compete here for the first time. The track has already been a lot of fun in the simulator – let’s see what the weather has in store for us over the next few days.”

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s 150th race, and your sixth race with the team. What’s special about this team to you and what does it mean to represent Haas in this new era of development and growth?

“Compared to others on the grid, Haas is a younger and smaller team. We approach things differently and after the first few races I can definitely say that everyone in the team works with a big attitude, never losing the family feel. You can see that people enjoy their work this season so far and we’ll be fighting hard for a good result in our 150th grand prix in Formula 1.”