Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Haas has “massive” scope for improvement – Grosjean

2016 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean believes Haas can still “improve massively” after the new team ended pre-season testing at the bottom of the times.

Grosjean said the team’s final day of testing was “very different from the previous days” and praised the progress the team had made with the brake-by-wire problem which disrupted his running yesterday. But he added they still have a lot of progress to make.

Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Haas lapped 0.5s off Sauber on the same tyres
“The guys did an amazing job last night to understand the problem with the brake-by-wirem” said Grosjean. “They got it solved for today.”

“It was a big relief to be able to drive the car and drive it well. There are still a few places where we can improve massively, but we’re working on it.”

The team’s quickest lap time during testing was a 1’25.255 on soft tyres, 2.49s slower than Ferrari’s pace-setting time on ultra-softs and 2.23s off Mercedes’ soft-tyre pace. They were half a second off fellow Ferrari customer Sauber’s pace on soft tyres.

Despite enduring a disrupted second week of testing, which included Esteban Gutierrez being limited to a single lap by a turbo problem on Wednesday, team principal Guenter Steiner says Haas is “as well prepared as we can be” for its race debut in two weeks’ time.

“It was definitely a better day today than the last three days,” he said. “We made a lot of progress. We sorted our problems from yesterday with our brake-by-wire and got some laps in.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 18 comments on “Haas has “massive” scope for improvement – Grosjean”

    1. In other words, the car is slow and unreliable at the moment.

      Then again, I did not expect anything more from them. If they can beat one or two teams at the first races, it will already be a huge achievement. If a brand new team could immediately score a lot of points, then it would indicate that F1 is not challenging enough.

      1. Hugh Campbell
        4th March 2016, 21:33

        It is a monumental achievement to be where they are so quickly. To be starting from nothing this is huge. Their goal is to finish races and perhaps get a few points this year.

      2. > If a brand new team could immediately score a lot of points, then it would indicate that F1 is not challenging enough.

        @girts What? Why a new team couldn’t success right away? It’s already proven F1 competition consisted of arguably the best racing teams, so instead of congratulating of a job well done, you prefer to degenerate other teams?

        1. @sonicslv If you start a new job – let’s say, you’re the new head of a department at a big company – then you will need a couple of months to settle in before you can start turning things around. The same goes for the pinnacle of motorsport; it is only normal that if you have no previous F1 experience and are building a new team from scratch, it takes some time and effort to get ahead of Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso that are well-established and have a lot of experience and knowledge. Even Red Bull needed four years to get to the top and they had taken over an existing team and invested a lot more money in it than Haas does.

          Gene Haas himself has said that ‘the complexity of the cars and engines and what we are doing with them is way beyond anything I ever expected’. All I am saying is that it is how it should be.

          1. @girts There’s always exception to the rules, and for those “geniuses”, we should celebrate and appreciate them instead of belittling their achievement. Lewis Hamilton almost become a world champion in his rookie season, it’s an outstanding feat that may never be equaled by anyone in the future, and we should celebrate it. What he does doesn’t made Alonso suddenly a “bad” driver. Also, it have been done before with Brawn GP, which officially is a new team. Does that mean Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Renault and others suddenly not the best race team anymore?

            1. @sonicslv Brawn GP was a different case. Their car was (a very expensive) Honda-Super Aguri, which was operated by Brawn GP. If someone bought the Mercedes team today, the new team would most probably be able to fight for the championship in 2016, even without Mercedes’ operating budget. There have been only a few really new teams in F1 over the last two decades and none of them were particularly successful during their first season.

              Anyway, I certainly do not want to belittle Haas’ potential achievements – you are right by saying that if a new team is immediately successful, it does not necessarily mean that their competitors are lousy. However, I believe that it probably means that the rules are not challenging enough; in other words, the barriers to entry should be higher or the existing teams should be forced to work harder. By the way, there have been similar discussions about F1 drivers. No one is saying that Hamilton and Alonso are mediocre drivers but there is nothing bad about asking if F1 is difficult enough.

            2. Well, Sauber was really successful in their first year in F1, so it’s possible to Haas achieve this too. However, I think for Haas, the aim this year is to not be the last team in the championship.

      3. “A lot of” points, probably not– but I don’t think it’ll be 3-4 years before they score their first points. The fact that they’re within half a second of Sauber during testing is pretty impressive. Sauber’s 2016 car is essentially their 2015 car, and they’ve had decades of experience racing in F1, a year of racing with a similar car to their 2016 chassis, and now with just 7 days of testing experience, Haas is within 0.5 seconds a lap.

        That’s impressive.

      4. They are in a lot better condition then what mclaren was last year. So if you think, F1 is not competitive enough if Haas is doing well, you are saying Mclaren don’t know how to make and run a formula 1 team.

        1. @utsav911
          Only if you think taking over an F1 factory and outsourcing 70% of the car with the long term goal of being a midfield team is equal to starting up a worksteam with a brand new engine.

          1. In fairness, HAAS is so far doing comparatively better than Honda did in their respective roles.

    2. I hope their gray livery slowly transitions to a bright vibrant colour as they achieve success!

    3. Didn’t some one say they were faster than the Ferrari? Reality strikes for Haas in testing. Hope they knuckle down and get to the act quickly. Else they might become a back marker quickly.

      1. No, what Haas said was:

        “We think our chassis in some ways will be better than a Ferrari chassis because we’re using some more… I won’t say state of the art, but we’re taking a different approach than Ferrari is and we think it’s probably a better design.

        “The Ferrari is more conventional, they’re going to stay with what they’ve been doing for a number of years.”

        Reality is that they’re targeting Q2 in Australia, and potentially, some points. I’m pretty sure Ferrari has higher aspirations than that for Australia. ;)

        1. @grat Better chassis is the keyword here. So assuming their chassis is indeed better than the 2015 Ferrari, with their upgraded PU, they must be fighting the Williams and RB. Instead they seem to be in the Manor, Sauber group.

          That was a particularly bold statement at that point and one maybe he wished he didn’t say come race day.

          I do hope they do well as it is good to see more cars on the field that are competitive.

      2. Haha That reminds me of Craig Pollock saying BAR could win their first race in 1999. End of the season? zero points lol.

    4. What is the budget of Haas compared to a midfield team like FI, STR.

      1. @illusive Gene Haas has said his team’s budget would be £65-70m, whereas AUTOSPORT’s Dieter Rencken last year estimated Force India’s budget at £110m and STR’s at £90m.

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