This weekend the HaasF1 team’s debut season in Formula One will come to a close and the 29 points they have scored to date are the most of any new team in this millennium.
When the Jaguar team debuted in 2000 and when Toyota came on the scene in 2002, each entity managed only two point-paying finishes in their entire first seasons for a combined total of six points.
This achievement is now etched in the Formula One history books along with the following anecdotes secured on its march toward Abu Dhabi:
- When Grosjean finished sixth at Australia to score eight points, it was the first time a Formula One team scored points in its debut race since 2002 when Mika Salo finished sixth for Toyota in the Australian Grand Prix.
- When Haas F1 Team development driver Santino Ferrucci took his first laps in a Formula One car at England’s Silverstone Circuit on the Tuesday after the British Grand Prix, it marked the first time an American driver had wheeled an American Formula One car since Oct. 9, 1977 when Danny Ongais drove a Penske PC4 in the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario.
- When Haas F1 Team took to the track in Austin, Texas, for FP1, it was the first time an American Formula One team had turned a wheel on American soil since the 1986 Detroit Grand Prix when Eddie Cheever and Alan Jones raced for Team Haas, which despite the name has no relation to Haas F1 Team. (Industrialist Gene Haas owns Haas F1 Team while the late Carl Haas owned Team Haas.)
So now, with its debut season nearly complete they head into Abu Dhabi ready to put a period on its first-year effort while simultaneously preparing for its sophomore year in the pinnacle of Motorsports…
“We’ve been building up this team for more than two years – almost three years – so it has been a very exciting and a very challenging mission,” said Team Principal Guenther Steiner of the team’s debut season. “I call this year our first season because we showed what we can do, but we worked on it for three years.”
‘It has gone so quickly that it’s been incredible. To have the opportunity to start an F1 team – how many people can do that? So for me on a personal level, it was really something. If you’re a kid, you dream of things like this, and we got it done. It wasn’t me on my own. It was a lot of people working with me. How you define success is very difficult, but getting here has been fantastic.”
The way the team is set up is a bit unorthodox, at least by Formula One standards and their success this season tends to validate their approach…
“Thanks to Gene Haas, who had the belief in the idea that we would have to do it differently because more of the same would not work. Gene’s wish was to find a different way. We did and it worked out,” Steiner explained. “I think we surprised a lot of people and I think a lot of people admit it, and I think we are perceived now as one of the 11 F1 teams. Few would think that we are only in our first season, which is more than a compliment and that is what we want to be. We want to be respectable for our own sake and for the sake of F1. I think people look at us now and say they are part of the show.”
So now it’s on to Abu Dhabi and the season finale and the team will finish the year eighth in the constructor standings, another achievement that they can be very proud of…
“For sure if you wish something you believe in it, but would I have signed up for eighth? Absolutely,” Steiner smiled. “That is what we were going for and we had a good feeling we could achieve it, but nothing is for certain in F1. You need to go out and compete and it seemed to be that eighth was very secure after the first three or four races, but then in the middle of the season somebody could have done a better job than us because we lacked a little in performance. So yes, eighth is what we deserve.”