Günther Steiner is refusing to get ahead of himself following the Haas team’s successful Formula 1 debut in Australia, saying that repeating its sixth place finish in Australia is “the biggest task”.
Haas F1 Team became the first start-up team in 14 years to score points on debut as Romain Grosjean charged from 19th on the grid to finish sixth at the checkered flag last Sunday.
The result came at the end of a weekend full of highs and lows for Haas, but team principal Steiner is working hard to ensure that expectations remain realistic heading to the next race in Bahrain on April 3.
“We had our ups and downs. It started off not too pretty, and then qualifying was not what we wished for, but the team bounced back and we got ready for Sunday,” Steiner said.
“We showed a good race speed and we are ready to go racing. In the end it was all positive. It was hard to get to the positive, but with a lot of work with a lot of hard-working people, we got there.
“Now the biggest task is to replicate this, which won’t be easy, but for sure we will be trying again.
“I think our plan is working, but we won’t finish sixth every weekend, so we need to be careful with our expectations. I think we showed that you can start a new team and end up in the midfield.
“We were not last in Australia, which was one of our goals, and I don’t think we will be last this year. How far we’ve come is a sign that our plan is working.”
Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.
“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”
The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.
Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.
Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.
He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.
Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.
Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.
Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.
Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.
The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.
Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.
Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.