Steiner: Impossible to predict F1’s midfield in closing races

Getty Images
0 Comments

Haas Formula 1 chief Guenther Steiner believes it is “impossible” to predict the pecking order among the midfield outfits heading into the final four races of the season as the American team bids to hold on to P7 in the constructors’ championship.

Haas has been engaged in a close-knit battle with Williams, Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren in recent races, with the advantage to be fifth-quickest in F1 swinging between all of the teams at various points.

Haas moved back ahead of Renault in the teams’ standings last time out in Japan thanks to a double-points finish with drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, giving it a boost heading into the final four rounds of the year.

The team now heads to its home race, the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, hopeful of continuing its form, but Steiner does not think there is a magic answer to doing so.

“There is no recipe to that one. We just go out in FP1, see where we are, and go from there,” Steiner said.

“As I always say, to make predictions this year, in the midfield, is impossible. Nobody can predict it. People wrote us off after Malaysia. They said we’d scored the last of our points this year. Then we came back in Japan with two cars in the points.

“Anything can happen. It doesn’t depend only on how we are doing, but how good the other teams are. That’s obvious, but by being so tight, anything can happen.

“Last year we scored a point at COTA and we’ll try to do better this year.”

Steiner made no secret of the motivation the result in Japan offered the team, particularly ahead of what is shaping up to be Haas’ most important race of the year.

“It’s always motivating – what these guys work for is success. For us, success is to be scoring points,” Steiner said.

“We scored with two cars for the second time since we entered Formula One, which is less than two years. Everybody is pumped up and now we come to the United States, the home country of Haas F1 Team.

“For sure it’s motivating and everybody wants to keep it going.”

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media
0 Comments

ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”