The fire-up of a new Formula 1 car is always something interesting. Normally, the procedure takes place weeks before the opening tests of a season. Not so for Haas as they just fired up their new 2021 car today.
A new Covid-19 mutation in the United Kingdom forced the country to strengthen its activities against the virus. Especially in travel restrictions. Following, the needed Ferrari engineers to fire-up the new Haas VF-21 would have had to go into quarantine after the arrival in the UK. Also, the workers would have been stopped to go into quarantine again after returning to Italy. Because of that, the American Haas squad declared the procedures for the fire-up of the new automobile as not practical. So the VF-21 was stuck in the team’s factory in Banbury before getting its first engine-shout.
Furthermore, the team did not hold any shakedowns or filming days because of that scenario. Back then, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner explained that the 9th placed team of 2020 will fire-up its 2021 challenger in Sakhir ahead of the pre-season tests. He added that “the fire-up will be in Bahrain. With all the flyaway races anyway the engines go back to Maranello, and then they come back to the race track and go straight into the car. So it’s not anything new.”
However, he also explained, that “it’s not ideal, because even if it is a carryover car, there are still some new parts. You want to do as much at home as you can.” Although the cars stay the same in most areas because of F1’s 2021 regulations, Haas gets big changes in the engine, as Ferrari created a new power unit for this year. In Bahrain, the Haas team now finally fired-up their new car for the upcoming season.
On Friday the vehicle will then also get its first laps in the frame of the pre-season tests. The team shared the reactions to the fire-up and the event itself on Twitter, with driver Mick Schumacher holding his fingers in his ears – a fire-up shout was there definitely.
Haas wasn’t the only team to be affected by the restrictions in the UK. Also AlphaTauri and Alpine faced difficulties. Whereas Alpine fired-up their first car in the UK, with the connected Renault engineers turning into quarantine before, AlphaTauri did its fire-up in Italy. British-based Honda engineers joined the squad in January and stayed with the team for several weeks.