Haas has been forced to delay the fire-up of its 2021 car until next month in Bahrain due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in the UK.
The US outfit was hoping to hear its 2021 contender roar into life this month at its factory in Banbury.
However, UK travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine measures mean that engine supplier Ferrari cannot send its team of technicians to handle the traditional landmark moment.
In the past, Haas has typically assembled its car at chassis supplier Dallara’s base in Italy. But the sheer number of 2020 parts carried over to this year’s car, as mandated by F1’s regulations, has led to the team building up its new machine in the UK.
“We have issues with Ferrari employees coming to Banbury to start up the engines because they would need to quarantine,” Steiner told F1.com.
“We cannot afford that timewise, so we decided to do the fire up in Bahrain. The team will assemble the car in the UK, and then the final fire up will be in Bahrain before test.”
A fire-up delay would normally prove detrimental to the team’s preparations. But Steiner says the issue is largely mitigated by the necessity to carry over last year’s chassis.
“To our advantage, there is a lot of carryover so it’s not as dramatic as it would have been in any other year,” said the Haas team boss.
“With the engine, there are a lot of the parts that are carried over. The gearbox is carried over, too, and parts like the wiring harnesses.
“If this was not the case, it would be a very big risk to do it in Bahrain. But with this situation, the risk is manageable.”