(Reuters) – U.S.-owned Haas on Friday became the first team to take the wraps off their 2022 car, when they unveiled a digital rendering of their VF-22 challenger that they hope will bring drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin their first Formula One points.
The team finished last overall in 2021 with neither Schumacher, son of seven times world champion Michael, nor Russian team mate Mazepin scoring points in a car that was often adrift of the rest of the field.
But the squad, having forgone development on last year’s challenger to focus on their 2022 car, are pinning their hopes on the sport’s new rules giving them the break they need to make their way back into the points-scoring positions.
That would see Schumacher follow in the footsteps of his father Michael and uncle Ralf to become the third member of his family to score Formula One points.
“We made the decision back in 2020 to really channel time and resources into the VF-22…,” said team owner Gene Haas in a statement.
“Hopefully that decision bears fruit and we return to challenging for points and taking something from the weekends.”
Haas, who made their debut in 2016, chalked up a best finish of fifth in the overall standings in 2018.
The VF-22 has been designed to Formula One’s radically new rules, with revised aerodynamics aimed at improving wheel-to-wheel racing and 18-inch wheels.
It will continue to sport the Russian-themed livery it carried last year representing title sponsor Uralkali, which is owned by Mazepin’s father.
“This is probably the most complex project the (team) has dealt with to-date for many reasons,” said technical director Simone Resta.
“It’s a completely new set of regulations and this season we’ve brought in a new team to manage the creation of the VF-22,” he added.
Schumacher and Mazepin, both rookies last year, will be heading into their second Formula One season.
The German, who acquitted himself well against Mazepin in 2021, is part of Ferrari’s driver development programme and will double up as the Italian team’s reserve this year.
The VF-22 will hit the track for a pre-season session in Barcelona from Feb. 23-25 before the official pre-season test in Bahrain from March 10-12.
The Gulf island kingdom will also host the season-opening race on March 20.
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Toby Davis)