Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Suzuka, 2017

Haas hold steady in second season

2017 F1 season review: Haas

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After an impressive debut campaign in 2016, when they finished eighth in the constructors’ championship, Haas might have been expected to have the expected ‘difficult second season’. This especially as the overhaul of the aerodynamic regulations for 2017 meant they couldn’t simply evolve their previous chassis.

But again the American team challenged expectations. Although 2017 was a hit-and-miss affair they made several incursions into the points – a fair result for a team whose goal at the start of the season was continuous improvement. Haas got in among the midfield on a regular basis, more so than its debut season. But it also found itself up against stronger competition. And there were some weekends when the VF-17 simply wasn’t competitive.

Haas team stats 2017

Best race result (number)6 (1)
Best grid position (number) 6 (2)
Non-classifications (technical/other) 8 (6/2)
Laps completed (% of total) 2,040 (84.86%)
Laps led (% of total) 0 (0%)
Championship position (2016)8 (8)
Championship points (2016)47 (29)
Pit stop performance ranking7

At times Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen experienced the frustrations of coping with a car which the team couldn’t always get into a set-up window where it could make its tyres work. Consistency was clearly lacking.

This prompted regular cries of frustration from Grosjean, to the extent he got tired of answering journalists’ questions about his vexed radio messages. And his team grew equally weary of hearing them: Guenther Steiner told Grosjean to “shut up” in the closing stages of the United States Grand Prix.

Magnussen’s strongest critics were his rivals, who took issue with his occasionally over-the-line moves. Magnussen gave as good as he got from the likes of Nico Hulkenberg, however, and Steiner staunchly defended his “bad boy” driver.

Of the two it was Grosjean who got the best out of the car, claiming sixth place in Austria with only cars from the ‘big three’ teams in front of him. Magnussen peaked with seven in Baku, avoiding the mayhem which claimed several of his rivals.

However both Haas drivers cannot fail to notice the progress of their former outfit Renault. In its second year as a full works team Renault leapfrogged Haas in the constructors’ championship, and sure both drivers must now be asking themselves whether they left at the right time.

The future of independent teams like Haas rests on whether F1’s new owners can successfully reform the sport in a way which allows them to compete with their rich rivals. Gene Haas has poured a lot of money into the team and says he has seen benefit from it, but has also admitted the project has been even tougher than he expected.

Haas enjoyed the advantage of being the only customer team with current-specification Ferrari hardware in 2017. But the two teams it ended the season ahead of can expect to have considerably more competitive power units next year. Life is only going to get tougher for F1’s youngest team.

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  • 8 comments on “Haas hold steady in second season”

    1. I expect them to finish 8th at max next season as well.

    2. Haas is a team I genuinely want to see succeed. The last gaggle of new teams, scored a grand total of 3 points, Manor getting all of them. They are a team who have two good drivers and if they get a good chassis then things can be better. If we assume Toro Rosso will mess up, considering factors like their car, Honda power, drivers, Haas could manage 7th place. They’ll have a stiff battle with Alfa Romeo and, as Magnussen so aptly put, they’ll have to reduce bad days. Austria and Baku esque races should be more common. If they can score consistently at the same level of this year in 2018, then that’s an impressive job.

    3. As much as I want Haas to succeed and as much as I like them overall it is almost painful to watch sometimes. Some of their late season qualifying sessions were abysmal. They seem to have maybe gotten on top of the brake situation as I didnt hear or read as much complaining the last few races, but their weak point now seems to be tires and getting the tires to work at all tracks under all conditions. I assume they could do with more downforce as well, but who couldnt. If they can get consistent with the tires I can see them doing as good if not maybe a little better for next year. If they cant then I could very easily see them getting last. Mclaren will be well up the order, I think Sauber will also look rejuvenated, Toro Rosso will be the big question with the Honda power.

    4. Think MAG did an excellent job – giving FPs to GIO he still was able to out qualify GRO at some occasions – and did a nice job in the GPs.. with some more luck he would have had 10 points more (a puncture and suspension error he can’t be blamed for that)..

    5. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      4th December 2017, 17:55

      When they first announced their entry I expected another Spyker/Midland/Hispania/Caterham/Manor; a perennial backmarker with no hope of cracking the midfield.
      However their slow methodical approach to entering has yielded impressive results for a start up, such that they now seem like stalwarts of the midfield who have been around since day dot.
      In 2017 they reaffirmed that they are not here to make up numbers by dropping their one underachieving pay driver, (putting two fingers up to Ferrari’s B team aspirations in the process), and delivered a solid tricky second album. Haats off to them I say.

      1. @fullcoursecaution It seems that Hass’s experience in other series is steadily paying off. They are proving themselves to be a serious team. The growing pains haven’t disabled them, although they are far from over. I still rate Grosjean highly (despite the moaning), but KMag has been dodgy as of late. His serious lapses in on-track judgement, especially when being overly aggressive when it didn’t really matter, disapointed me.

    6. Sundar Srinivas Harish
      5th December 2017, 0:36

      However both Haas drivers cannot fail to notice the progress of their former outfit Renault. In its second year as a full works team Renault leapfrogged Haas in the constructors’ championship, and sure both drivers must now be asking themselves whether they left at the right time.

      I’m not sure about RoGro, but KMag definitely had no choice. Renault clearly intended to have Sainz or Kubica driving along with Hulk, and they weren’t willing to offer Magnussen a contract with a length of more than a year. If he’d stayed on with Renault, he would’ve been without a seat for 2018.

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