Haas: Grosjean “drove his heart out”

2016 Australian Grand Prix

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Haas team owner Gene Haas lauded driver Romain Grosjean’s efforts after the team claimed a points finish in its first race.

“Grosjean had a heck of a challenge there,” said Haas. “They made the decision to go on the medium [tyres] for 39 laps, so that was really pushing it. He basically didn’t chew up his tyres initially, so he was able to get 39 laps out of them.”

“I think near the end he was starting to pick up time on the person behind him. Tyre strategy, saving your tyres, those are the kinds of things that make a driver a legend.”

“Grosjean just drove his heart out and did everything he could to keep it up there and it worked out. When [Nico] Hulkenberg was behind him I thought he might catch him, but he held him off and we actually started to make some time. He was saving fuel near the end, so I think once we got to the last few laps and we started to push a little harder, the car really responded.”

“This is racing. It’s what we do for a living and, you know, it’s cool. But I’ll tell you, there’ll be some bad days too, so we’ll enjoy this one.”

Grosjean said the result “feels like a win”.

“For all the guys who worked so hard over the last few weeks, this is unbelievable. We were unlucky yesterday, but got a bit lucky today with the red flag.”

“Still, we were able to hold off the Williams and the Force India. We didn’t have much set-up (time) on the car. It was a case of, off you go and see what happens. This is an unbelievable feeling.”

Grosjean’s sixth place makes Haas the first team to score points on its debut since Toyota in 2002. But the team chief warned against setting expectations too high.

“There’s a new F1 team on the block and it’s an American F1 team, so we’re real proud of that. But these other teams are pretty dang good at what they do.”

“I wouldn’t sit here and say we’re going to be in front of them all the time, but today was a good day.”

2016 Australian Grand Prix

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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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    59 comments on “Haas: Grosjean “drove his heart out””

    1. Owen Hamilton
      20th March 2016, 12:11

      It looks like Manor despite being closer to the pack are still slowest of all so that result has probably sewn up 10th place in the championship (at the very least) for Haas in their first ever race.

      1. I think they can aim for 7th or 8th, the midfield is very tight and they are in the mix. Manor wil be a lonely 11th, and sauber is likely to be 10th at the end.

      2. Is it just me or the Haas looks a little too much as the SF-15? I thought Haas had to make or outsource their chassis. Well hurray for Haas and Dallara and Ferrari, after SFI there hasn’t been a new competent team in F1. Thankfully Haas won’t ruin another qualifying, and may regularly fight for 7-10 positions.

        1. Haas, via contract to Dallara, has to make the front wing, rear wing (really, all aero surfaces), survival cell and crash structure(s).

          So if you can see it, Haas designed it (except possibly suspension components). If you can’t, Ferrari probably designed it (except for carbon fiber structural components).

          Not a bad job, really– They appear able to fight with McLaren, Sauber, Force India, and Toro Rosso– hopefully Manor will be able to step up and get into the fight as well.

          1. The Haas has copies of the SF-15T front wing, rear wing and the entire floor. So even if they did manufacture those parts, the moulds were sold (or loaned?) to them by Ferrari.

            1. gilbert HENRY
              21st March 2016, 5:24

              Chief aero of Haaas : Ben Agathangelou (ex Red Bull and Ferrari) :-)

    2. Drive of the day for me.

      He executed the strategy to a tee. We all know what Romain can do, hope to see Haas doing as well as it did this weekend regularly.

      Haas scoring big on its debut is a massive win for F1. This proves that the Haas model can work. They’ve already set out to achieve their main goal of scoring points with a healthy haul in their first outing!

      1. FlyingLobster27
        20th March 2016, 12:18

        Sixth really is a major achievement, because it was worth a single point back in the day. Harks back to the debuts of Pedro de la Rosa, scoring for Arrows in 1999, or Mark Webber, scoring for Minardi in 2002.

      2. Yeah, stellar job by him. The circumstances helped him a lot, but he had to fight for this result.

        I think it’s quite telling that we hardly saw him during the broadcast. They’re usually very keen on showing every lock-up they can get their hands on, so the absence of footage implies that he drove absolutely flawlessly.
        Hats off to him.

      3. I’d love to se Grosjean driving Kimi’s Ferrari…

    3. This should be the story of the weekend really, way more important than dodgy qualifying rules or tyre choices. If Grosjean doesn’t get the driver of the weekend here I’ll be severely disappointed. Sure a bit of luck went their way but it’s totally unfair to say it wasn’t one hell of a drive and a greatly deserved result for Grosjean and HAAS.

    4. Kudos to Grosjean and Haas F1 team. I really like what they have done so far and hope they can genuinely battle in the midfield sooner rather than later.

    5. Edsel Ramirez
      20th March 2016, 12:44

      I’m a bit confused by the article saying “sixth place makes Haas the first team to score points on its debut since Toyota in 2002…” What about Brawn GP? Weren’t they considered a debut team as well?

      1. Brawn just took over from Honda, just like Red Bull just bought Jaguar. Haas is the first actually new constructor to score points on their debut since Toyota.

      2. As @kaiie says. And I believe before Toyota, the next constructor that debuted with points was Sauber in 1993!

      3. @kaiie @fer-no65 I wonder what bAR was considered to be… (Tyrrell license, new team?)

        1. @davidnotcoulthard they took over Tyrrell, so not a “new” constructor. They even ran the team during it’s final season in 1998, before dropping its name and going full BAR for 1999.

            1. @davidnotcoulthard I don’t think Tyrrell/BAR’s case is any different to Stewart/Jaguar, Minardi/Toro Rosso, Jordan/Midland, and the lot.

            2. @fer-no65 Tyrrell>>BAR>>Honda>>Brawn>>Mercedes – is that the right lineage?

              Pretty mad when you think about!

            3. @psynrg and then Renault’s :P

              Toleman>> Benetton >> Renault >> Lotus GP (not Team Lotus)>> Team Lotus >> Renault

            4. @fer-no65 Not according to what I linked to, though.

            5. Though I guess I should add that I do realise forum comments are less reliable even than Wikipedia articles…..

    6. So happy to see an american team back in F1 bringing all the US flavours with them. This is an amazing result, big hope for a bright future.

      1. How do you know it’s an American team? They use “Dude” in a pit radio transmission. ;)

        1. Grat : as a southern californian, that made me very happy to hear. I just imagined it was a…umm.. dude from Haas’ california branch on the radio and I felt at home watching an F1 race ;)

    7. BTW where’s the Driver of the Day award as was decided? I don’t see any mention of that!

      1. @neelv27 see http://www.formula1.com/vote – beware though, people can (currently) vote as many times as you want, no registration or anything, so don’t be surprised when the results won’t be the most solid, but anyway, as many people voting on merits of the drivers day, the better.

    8. Congratulations Haas!

      Even most established teams were nowhere near. Grosjean should also be a reminder for backmarkers why having a top driver should be a #1 priority.

      I hear 10th spot is worth 20M pounds is it? Way more than most drivers bring to the table in sponsorship.

      Good day for F1 indeed, Sauber and Manor need to take note… Plenty of points that will be hard to overtake.

      1. What I don’t understand honestly is Williams and why they’ve been trundling around with two 2nd rate drivers at best for years now. Massa was nowhere near competitive with Alonso, and this was years ago. Who knows what that potential beast of a Mercedes powered machine could have pulled off over the last two years with a top driver at the helm.

        1. Well they obviously rate Bottas as a top driver.

          1. They have a lot bigger troubles than the drivers if that’s the case. I genuinely feel sorry for their engineers, it’s the exact opposite feeling of watching Alonso in the McLaren last year.

        2. Bottas and Massa are top rate, I rate them as high as Grosjean. Massa from 2005 to 2008 was fantastic to watch, he grew and grew as a GP driver from his Sauber days to then Ferrari beating Schumacher at the end of his Ferrari days, then beating Raikonnen, and beating Hamilton in straight fights also, and had a world championship in him (so close 2008), but then came the accident… I think he has only ever been an A- driver since then, and not A+. Bottas is as good as the best from what we have seen, just needs a good car, but he now needs to show results against Massa this year or will end up with a career like Hulkenburg, but that might be hard as Massa is showing top form again recently. Sadly for Bottas, the Williams looks too slow this year, and the other young guns at Toro Rosso with a better chassis will look like the heroes of the next generation throughout this year.

        3. Rafa martins
          21st March 2016, 1:24

          Williams cant compared with Mercedes as well toro rosso with Ferrari. Be fair with Massa: who Frank choosed to develop the car? I think saudosism to Mansell this moaning about my fellow brazilian.

    9. yesterday was such a disappointment for HAAS, the new elimination qualifying prevented them for fight for about 10-12th place on the grid. then when Guitierez crashedout, I though what a disaster weekend, but then Grosjean finally got to show the pace of the car, keeping established teams behind him and not really being challenged from behind. so many people thought they would be fighting with Manor, but they are leagues ahead of them already.

      1. Errrr. No. Haas prevented Haas from fighting for higher positions.

        Still a very good result today, though.

    10. I love their attitude. They know that there will be tough times and that this may be an aberration. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t be happy about it and use it to motivate themselves to become better. I really like this team. And yes, as an American, it is special too. But as an American with French ancestry, it is double-special that Romain did so well today. He seems like a decent guy, being a husband and a father. To me, this is what is great about motor sport…stories and people like this.

    11. Tyre strategy, saving your tyres, those are the kinds of things that make a driver a legend.
      does ‘legend’ means something else in the US, Gene? ;)

      but to be fair, great result for Haas and a superb drive from GRO! btw, it’s getting really tiring hearing the narrators [at least here in Brazil] trying to talk him down like he’s still is the same crash kid from 2009…

      1. the excerpt was supposed to be a quote… oh, well…

    12. 6th is such a great result because it is point scoring even in the old system from 1st to 6th. they got 8 points in one race. how many points have the other new teams of the last 6 years scored between them? I bet it is around 8 without counting. Gene Haas has probably got his investment back with this one race.

      1. Jules’ 2 points at Monaco 2014 was the sum total of the 2010 newbies efforts as far as I’m aware. Makes the HAAS debut seem even more impressive!

      2. Considering the new teams of the last 6 years are HRT (went out pointless), Caterham (went out pointless) and Manor (2 points in 2014), Haas has already outperformed all of them together.

        But to be fair, Haas probably has a bigger budget that any of them.

    13. How can Mclaren not do this well?

      1. Well they haven’t been given a Ferrari to base their car off (and they jumped away from Mercedes assuming they could never beat them on aero / without a factory package) which kind of puts them at a disadvantage trying to do literally everything themselves.

        McLaren kind of shot themselves in the foot a bit. They won’t even allow Honda to supply a second team to gather more data / benchmark against.

        Not to say McLaren’s tack won’t work either. But comparing HAAS to McLaren is a bit of the old apples oranges don’t ya think?

        1. “But comparing HAAS to McLaren is a bit of the old apples oranges don’t ya think?”

          You mean rotten apples vs. fresh oranges?

          Sorry, could not resist.

    14. I’ll be interested to see where Grosjean can actually qualify the car given a “normal” Q1 in Bahrain.

    15. Congrats to the Haas F1 team!! A great start to the year.
      Never believed they could score points in their debut race. Well done!!

    16. Very happy for the Haas team and Romain Grosjean. What redemption for Grosjean when not so long ago many fans were deriding him and calling for his immediate exit out of F1. He has matured so much in his racecraft and still maintained his speed. Then to get hired by a brand new team that showed confidence in him as a driver and team leader and now to gain a such a mutually gratifying result in their first race. Stories like this one are one of my favorite reasons for being a F1.

      And to the Haas team and their efforts that got them to F1 and to score points in their debut. Since Haas announced their entry into F1 there have been many fans and pundits who predicted they would not be able to score points or make an impact at all for a long, long time. Some very harsh things were said about them and their chances for any success in the near term or long term. Another favorite F1 thing for me is watching any team have success against all odds.

      Wishing much future success for Haas and Grosjean together. This is the best news story for F1 at a time when they needed it most.

      1. “for being a F1” fan.

      2. He’s a clear example of a fast but reckless driver evolving into a fast and safe pair of hands. That’s not to say he doesn’t make mistakes, but considering he’s spent the last 2 years somewhere in the midfield, I’d say he’s pretty reliable.

    17. Congrats to Haas and Grosjean for an excellent debut. Kind of funny that due to the red flag, the team never had to perform a pit stop. Guess they’ll have to do their 1st one in Bahrain!

    18. Awesome race for Haas. I was so nervous watching the scoring ticker checking Grosjean’s gap to Hulkenberg. Begging him to get those last few tenths he needed to get out of his DRS range. I think it took 20 laps, but he finally started pulling away slightly. The red flag gave him the opportunity and he made the most of it.

      I don’t care much for all the Ferrari B-Team talk. They get components from Ferrari, just like other customer teams use Williams gearboxes and McLaren electronics. They have done their homework. Worked within the rules and exploited what was there or more importantly not there. Just like double diffusers and blown exhausts in the past. Just another way of using the current rules to your benefit. If the rules change for what components are allowed I’m sure they will adapt.

      Great debut for Haas. Not expecting this result very often this year which probably makes it that much sweeter to cheer this initial success.

    19. Brilliant result and great driving from Grosjean. Nice to hear commentators recognising that he’s now a top driver.

    20. Really delighted for the whole Haas F1 team. It does seem a more prudent model to come in and buy what you can, build and organise a team around it and you can be closer to the points. Hopefully they can continue to look for points throughout the season, and hopefully there is a better chance of other new teams coming into F1. I for one would love to see a Penske F1 team, but thats just a dream!

    21. [quote]Grosjean’s sixth place makes Haas the first team to score points on its debut since Toyota in 2002.[/quote]

      Unless I’m missing something, what about the 1-2 finish for Brawn GP in Australia 2009?

      1. Michael Brown
        20th March 2016, 23:44

        What is meant by that is Haas and Toyota were brand-new teams that started from scratch. Brawn bought Honda, so they they aren’t technically brand-new.

    22. Grosjean doing his Ferrari prospects no harm at all.

    23. It must be annoying for Gutierrez because of the unluky accident and his teammate scoring Haas’s first points and them being the debut points for a new consctructure. But Grosjean did a very good job and drove well.

    24. “For all the guys who worked so hard over the last few weeks, this is unbelievable. We were unlucky yesterday, but got a bit lucky today with the red flag.”

      Funny to read that from Romaine! I might’ve expected a bit of sorrow over his teammate’s plight, but they did get a boost from it. Hmm – Alonso involved in a crash that benefits one of the involved team’s remaining car…where have I heard that before? :-D (I kid, I kid).

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