SPIELBERG, Austria -- Although Kevin Magnussen thinks Haas could take the fight to Red Bull at the Austrian Grand Prix, team boss Guenther Steiner is wary of risking a big haul of points by getting sucked into a fight it cannot win.
Haas managed to out-qualify one of the Red Bulls on Saturday, with Romain Grosjean beating Daniel Ricciardo to sixth position. After dropping off the pace in Monaco and Canada, Haas has returned to its previous position of the quickest car in the midfield pack, and this weekend has even shown similar pace to Red Bull in both short and long runs.
Magnussen, who will line up behind Ricciardo, thinks a lot will depend on whether Haas can stay ahead of the Red Bulls in the opening stint.
When asked if Red Bull is beatable on race day, Magnussen said: "We will see. I am not sure we are faster than them.
"I think we are almost on par with them on race pace. If we can get in front then... You need to be more than two-tenths faster to overtake so let's see."
Grosjean also hinted in his post-qualifying media session that race pace was good enough to challenge the former world champions. However, team boss Steiner has a more cautious outlookgm, mindful of the handfuls of points Haas dropped in the opening rounds of the season when it failed to convert this same pace into strong results.
"I dont think the drivers will think we need to beat Red Bull at the start, you try to do your best and it's difficult to say 'I'm not doing this or I'm not doing that' because you don't know what the other ones are doing and you need to react to it.
"Then you just try to stay out of trouble. It's not strategic to start slow because in the rear, they don't wait, so you need to get going with them and just do your best and keep out of trouble. I think at the start you can plan for very little."