The HaasF1 team had a much stronger debut season than anyone, even themselves, expected with 29 points to their credit, all courtesy of Romain Grosjean, and an eighth place in the 2016 Constructors battle.
This meant that they beat three other teams over the course of the 21 race season, Manor, Sauber and Renault and team owner, Gene Haas admitted that they even surpassed the expectations he had when they started out on this new journey, especially when Grosjean crossed the line in the season opening Australian Grand prix in a brilliant sixth place.
“I was a little bit surprised at the initial points scoring. In Melbourne we were sixth – almost unheard of in Formula One that in your first race out you would score that high,” he told the team’s official website admitting that that was actually his proudest moment of the season…“because it was our inaugural race and actually scoring points was a record-breaking event. Melbourne certainly stands out above any other race during the whole season just because we scored points.”
Haas also revealed how lessons learned on their NASCAR journey assisted in their progress in the pinnacle of Motorsports as they ensured not to repeat the same mistakes…
“Well, our first year in NASCAR was a really arduous task. We always ran at the back and we did it for like six years straight and we never had much luck. We started in NASCAR in 2002 and the competition for drivers and crew chiefs was intense and we just struggled,” he said. “Everything we learned that we did wrong in NASCAR we avoided in Formula One, and the most important thing was immediately seeing what works and what doesn’t work. We learned that the hard way in NASCAR, so when we went to Formula One our focus was not so much on how we did things, but who we did things with.”
So with their debut season now firmly behind them and a new driver in Kevin Magnussen to race alongside Romain Grosjean, what does the team owner think will happen in their second season?
“I think it has pluses and minuses. On the plus side, we’re not trying to put the whole pit crew together. We don’t have to worry about getting trucks and other infrastructure. We have all that in place. The negative side is that there’s less time to do all these things again and there are a lot of rule changes, so you have to be prepared. On the other hand, we have stronger relationships with a lot of our suppliers, so that should make it easier. It’s kind of give and take. It’ll be just as challenging as it was last year, but I think with the knowledge we have, we should actually perform a little bit better this year.”