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Haas boss Guenther Steiner: Early upgrades key to success in 2017

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner says Formula One's new regulation changes make the early batch of upgrades crucial for any team wanting a successful 2017 season.

The new cars for the upcoming season are wider with higher levels of downforce, which are expected to dramatically cut lap times. World champions Mercedes are wary of the new rules dramatically shaking up the pecking order, something which occurred with the last major aerodynamic overhaul in 2009 when Brawn GP emerged from the ashes of Honda to win the title.

New rules also lead to the prospect of a ferocious development battle as teams unlock performance, something Steiner thinks will be the defining part of 2017.

When asked if the new rules make scoring points a more realistic prospect than last year, when Haas finished sixth on its debut in Australia, Steiner told ESPN: "We will do the same as last year and hope we score points. For the rest of the season, this year we will be bringing more updates. Last year we said from the beginning we will bring very few updates. This year we need to bring more updates because it will be a battle of who can bring the most updates in the shortest amount of time.

"We know we can't compete with the big boys but in our league we will try to do the best we can to have updates available because the gains in the beginning will be much bigger than ever before because it's a completely new car, so you find more gains in the beginning than you find after four or five years developing the car. So this year will be about who can bring the most new parts and good parts to each race."

Haas had limited upgrades in its rookie campaign in Formula One, with one eye turned towards 2017 for much of the year. The American team struggled in the latter part of the season -- notably with its brakes -- and was severely hampered by the fact it had no data for any of the 21 circuits it visited.

Though it is now equipped with relevant information for every track on the calendar and hopes to make a step up the pecking order, Steiner admits the rule changes have muddied the data Haas collected in 2016.

"It will help, absolutely, but we musn't forget that the tyres are completely new so the tyre data for this year I don't think is as relevant as if we were using the same tyres. It's the same for everyone, so I'm not trying to find an excuse for that, but we have no data for the tyres. We'll get that at Barcelona and we need to make our own experience and learning with this year's tyres.

"That's the same for everyone though, we can't say 'we didn't know about it', because nobody does. For sure, having more track data, more understanding of the tracks and circuits should be helpful."