Haas F1 has passed the FIA’s mandatory crash test, which means its car is cleared to take part in winter testing ahead of the team’s Formula 1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix.
On Friday afternoon, the Haas F1 Twitter account announced that the team had, “Passed FIA crash tests. Next up testing.”
So with the news that F1’s newest squad has cleared the latest step on its path to the grid, a track littered with teams that tried and failed to get off the ground, we take a look at how Gene Haas’ eponymous outfit has made it this far.
Fewer listed parts required
Haas F1 has a well-known close relationship with Ferrari that has led to the American squad being dubbed a “B-team” for the Scuderia. However, it still has to produce a number of listed parts itself in order to be considered an F1 constructor.
• Survival cell
• Front-impact structures
• Roll-over structures
• Bodywork – except airboxes, exhausts, and prescribed bodywork geometries
But the required listed parts have been drastically reduced in recent years, which allowed Haas F1 to put together its unique approach to F1. Ferrari will supply the remaining elements of the car – the power unit, gearbox and suspension (as well as smaller technical parts such as brake ducts), which reduces Haas F1’s R&D costs, while allowing the team access to proven Ferrari kit.
Chassis and aero
Long-time Italian chassis manufacturer, Dallara, is producing Haas F1’s first car and Gene Haas explained last year that he expected it to be “better” than Ferrari’s own effort.
He said: “I think our chassis is going to be substantially different in construction from the Ferrari one, because we’re just doing it separately.
“We think our chassis in some ways will be better than a Ferrari chassis because we’re using some more … I won’t say state of the art but we’re taking a different approach than Ferrari is and we think it’s probably a better design.
Haas F1’s relationship with Ferrari allowed it to use the Scuderia’s windtunnel to develop its aerodynamic concept, although the two outfits have been under scrutiny in recent months over this arrangement.
Mercedes asked the FIA to clarify the rules surrounding new teams without naming Haas F1 or Ferrari, but the governing body was satisfied no rules had been broken.
Budget and bases
The American team is reported to be operating with an annual budget of €100m and team principal Guenther Steiner is hopeful the squad can earn points in its debut season, where it is expected to run a yellow livery inspired by the famous Ferrari badge.
He said: “We want to run in the midfield, mid-grid, and then progressively close up in races to where the points are.”
The team’s headquarters is at Haas’ base in Kannapolis, North Carolina, but it will also have an operation at the former Marussia factory in Banbury in the UK for the race team, as well as personnel working on designs in Italy to be close to Ferrari and Dallara.
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) January 1, 2016
Romain Grosjean has gambled on Haas F1 and jumped ship from Lotus, despite the expected and now confirmed news that Renault would take over the Enstone team, as he hopes to secure a move to Ferrari if Kimi Raikkonen retires or is let go at the end of 2016.
Former Sauber driver, Esteban Gutierrez, who was a Scuderia reserve in 2015, fills the second seat, but still brings valuable experience from his 38 F1 races.
Making the grid
The FIA accepted Haas F1’s application to join the F1 grid in April 2014 and the team was granted a place in the 2015 championship. But Gene Haas opted to postpone the squad’s entry until 2016 to ensure it did not collapse in its infancy, something that occurred to the last American outfit to be granted an F1 slot, US F1, back in 2010.
However, the recent changes to the 2016 F1 calendar that moved the start of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, from April 3 to March 20 caused some concern for the team, according to Steiner.
He told Autosport that: “It hasn’t made things easier. But we’re not getting worried. It’s the same for everyone. It happened and you need to deal with it.
“Does it make it cheaper? No, but this is what we are dealing with. The project is on track and we’re confident we’ll have the car ready for testing.”
What do you expect from Haas F1 in 2016? Will it be competitive in its debut year? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.