Guenther Steiner jokes Haas test 'almost boring' compared to 2022 drama

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SAKHIR, Bahrain - Twelve months on from splitting with a title sponsor and driver on the eve of a new season, Guenther Steiner said Haas enjoyed its most seamless test since it arrived in Formula One.

Last year Haas' preseason included splitting with Russian title sponsor Uralkali and driver Nikita Mazepin, leading to the return of Kevin Magnussen a week before the first race.

Haas had a solid three-day test in Bahrain this week and appear to be firmly cemented in the midfield going into the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5.

Steiner said the entire test, which ran with remarkably few reliability issues or stoppages across the grid, had gone well.

"You have to look out there," Steiner said. "I think it's the best one in Formula One ever.

"We've seen how many red flags? Three? Everybody doing the laps... if you go to the lap count of previous season, first test, this never happened before in my opinion.

"I'm so amazed about it. Five years ago every two, three hours there was a red flag. Now we're all doing the laps, just boom, boom, boom."

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When a journalist pointed out to Steiner that the team had no freight issues, a car that was ready at the start of the test and none of the drama of 2022, he laughed and said: "Almost boring, huh?

"I'm happy when we are fast. And I'm not happy [still], because there's always something. But you're right, this year everything was a lot smoother."

Reflecting on how the team coped with the drama of last year, he said: "We had a little chat a few days ago, and said think about what we had to do last year at this time. It was like, how the hell do we get out of this hole? Because we kept on falling into holes.

"You think back now... I think how we handled it I still wouldn't do anything different."

The feeling that has emerged in the paddock is that the midfield pack behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes has tightened up this year and Steiner said it is harder than ever to predict how it looks going into race one.

"You ask me where anybody is in the midfield, I don't know. I have no clue.

"I think this year some cars will do better on certain tracks, some on others, fast and slow tracvks and things like this, because it's so close together. That's my feeling on it. My guys ask me and I don't really know where we are."