Why Haas F1 Team is the biggest surprise after the first race of the F1 season

Casual Formula 1 fans who might have missed the season-opening Bahrain F1 Grand Prix can be excused for doing a double take in the standings today.

After all, the new world order – or at least the way Formula 1 teams line up in the standings – seems to be a bit upside down.

Ferrari, on the strength of a double from Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr, leads the F1 constructors’ championship with 44 points. Mercedes, thanks to a 3-4 finish by seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, is second with 27 points.

Now it gets fun.

The Haas F1 team, which was scoreless in 2021, sits third in the standings after a run with 10 points after Kevin Magnussen’s clear run to fifth in Bahrain was good for 10 points. His teammate Mick Schumacher finished 11th and just missed out on his first F1 championship point.

And as for Red Bull, a team that produced F1 champion Max Verstappen and gave Mercedes a spirited run before finishing second in the 2021 Constructors’ Championship, they sit at Haas’ former location in the under- F1 floor after race 1 of 23.

Haas had not recorded a single point so far as a top 10 since Romain Grosjean’s ninth-place finish at the Eifel Grand Prix at Nurburgring, Germany on October 11, 2020. Magnussen’s finish was his career-best in Formula 1 since fifth place for Haas in Austria in 2018.

What made his fifth-place finish even more unlikely – if you need more proof – is that Magnussen returned to Formula 1 less than two weeks ago. If it hadn’t been for the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Haas’ firing of Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and Russian sponsor Uralkali, Magnussen would still be working on his Peugeot race in the new FIA WEC Hypercar program. this constructor after losing its own race to Haas following the 2020 season.

Magnussen even raced in the 2022 Rolex 24 IMSA WeatherTech Series for Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing in January. No, F1 was not on Magnussen’s radar for 2022.

Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner watches competition in Bahrain on Sunday.

Clive Rose – Formula 1Getty Images

Clearly, the break from Formula 1, coupled with new rules and regulations in F1 for 2022, has proven to be good for Magnussen and Haas.

“The madness continues,” Magnussen said after Sunday’s race. “We had a really good race and the car felt good all the way. We had a bit more degradation than we would have hoped for on the first set of tyres, but I also passed a few people who were more faster than me on the first lap and I didn’t really know if I should keep them behind or let them go.

“I also stalled a bit, so maybe it wasn’t perfect, but even though we stopped earlier, we then extended the second stint with the same tire to get back on the plane. Then, there was a safety car that put everyone on the same tire and then it was just a sprint race to the end so it was just intense. Obviously a bit of luck there down with the two Red Bulls (both leaving early) but we’re going to enjoy it.”

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner also seemed to appreciate that he wasn’t asked the same “what was wrong today” questions after the Grand Prix. After last year’s unforgettable season and the lack of power in his team’s cars, it looks like the team could be on the right side of the equation this year. Three of the top four teams in the standings after a race – Ferrari, Haas and Alfa Romeo – are powered by Ferrari engines.

“A really good day for us today, it’s good to be back for the whole team,” said Steiner, who has led the Haas effort since it was put on the track from 2016. “They did a fantastic job, not just today but for the past two years, everyone kept their heads up and just prepared for when we got a good car.

“When that moment came everyone did their part and I’m very proud of them, and they can be proud of themselves.”

Haas will look to keep the pace this week in Round 2 of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah.

Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship

Ranking after the race 1 of 23

  1. Ferrari 44
  2. Mercedes 27
  3. Haas Ferrari 10
  4. Alfa Romeo Ferrari 9
  5. Alpine Renault 8
  6. AlphaTauri Red Bull 4 Powertrains
  7. Aston Martin AramcoMercedes 0
  8. Williams Mercedes 0
  9. McLarenMercedes 0
  10. Red Bull Racing Red Bull Powertrains 0

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