Last year, Haas got off to an unbelievably good start for a brand-new team in F1. Grosjean scored some great points and they profited hugely from their partnership with Ferrari. Having an engine which was competitive and drawing from a loophole enabled knowledge base, they had a successful 2016.
The early noises coming out of Haas are positive. Gene Haas has said that they will be aiming for 6th or 7th this year, which will cement their position as a mid-table team. Not bad when you consider the recent additions to the grid are mostly dwelling on the brink of survival.
Magnussen and Grosjean are good enough drivers, with Grosjean being the better of the two and more consistent in his results last year. They will only be as good as they car they are pedalling and the Ferrari tie-in is still holding strong for another few years.
Gene Haas wants to become a traditional independent team and once the Ferrari deal is complete, they should take on a different presence on the grid, but for now they are reaping the rewards.
This season, the engine should be good enough to battle in mid-field, the team will have to cope with the new regs, just like everyone else so we’ll see how they handle them. But, Haas weren’t that brilliant in the pits last year, they were certainly not a scratch on Williams. Their team have spent a year getting to understand their new work environment and how each of them fit into the machine. This year, they will be tackling a lot of the same issues again and having to relearn them.
It’s the team which will be the crucial factor in Haas’ success this year. They have a wealth of racing knowledge and by now the team will have gelled.
Last year, they seemed to tail off at the end of the season. We hope that this is purely because they were focusing so heavily on this upcoming season and they have developed a great car for the start of the year. Only time will tell.
We think Haas will struggle to achieve their aim of 6th or 7th. It’s a tall ask and the other teams will have improved just as much as Haas have done. Realistically, we’re looking at Haas finishing around the same as last year or maybe even one place worse.
8th or 9th is more probable then 6th or 7th.