F1 Winter Break
Ready to race? Haas F1 to focus on reliable running in 2016 Formula 1 testing
Haas F1
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  15 Feb 2016   |  3:48 pm GMT  |  41 comments

The Haas F1 team will focus on reliability and operating procedures rather than chasing performance gains when pre-season Formula 1 testing gets underway in Barcelona next week.

The two four-day events will take place at the Spanish circuit on February 22-25 and March 1-4, as Haas F1 prepares to run its 2016 car for the first time ahead of the team’s debut season.

Guenther Steiner, Haas F1’s team principal, explained that his squad would concentrate on making sure the new car runs reliably during the opening test. It is the first race car that Haas has made, albeit with plenty of technical help from Ferrari and Dallara.

Guenther Steiner

Steiner said: “In our first test of the season and first as a team, you try to make sure everything works as you designed it. You just prove out whatever you did, and in the second part of the test, you try to get performance out of the car.

“Or, better said, you try to get performance as quickly as possible. First of all, make sure everything works. Everything is new on the car. The first test is quite important just from a reliability factor.

“You try to learn as much as possible about the car. You get the baseline on the car and you work off that baseline the rest of the year.”

Steiner also believes the test is an important opportunity for the new team to assess its operational procedures before working on the speed of the car during the second test.

XPB.cc Guenther Steiner Romain Grosjean Gene Haas

He said: “Because we are a new team, you want to make sure all the people work together – the mechanics work together with the race engineers – to make the car reliable, to understand the car.

“Everything is new for us. It’s not only a new car, but a new team. In the second test, hopefully we put ourselves in a position to start work on the setups of the car to where we can learn how to make it better for the race.”

Romain Grosjean, who joined Gene Haas’ eponymous outfit from Lotus at the end of 2015, also explained that high-mileage running was the team’s priority as a result of the limited testing period in modern F1.

Romain Grosjean

He said: “The first thing for the test is to get the car to run and to work well from there. Hopefully, we can get a lot of mileage. This is a new team, so we need to get everyone to work together, all the engineers, mechanics and the drivers.

“We need to get as much data and knowledge as we can. It’s important to get the reliability sorted as early as possible because we don’t get much testing and we’re going straight to Melbourne.”

Grosjean, who had spent his entire career racing for the Enstone-based team that will run as Renault in 2016, described the welcome he had received at the first American F1 team since Haas Lola, which was run by the unrelated Carl Haas, competed in the 1986 season.

He said: “I felt a very warm welcome from day one with Gene [Haas] and Guenther and from everyone I’ve met in the team. It’s a nice spirit. It’s an American spirit. Everyone wants to go racing. It’s very exciting, as it’s a new challenge.

“It’s going to be something unique having an American Formula 1 team on the grid for the first time in 30 years. Driving the car out of the garage on day one will be unbelievable. There’s a lot to look forward to. I already feel comfortable in the team. Everyone is motivated and wants to get to the first test, and then the first race.”


Haas F1’s other driver, former Sauber racer and Ferrari reserve, Esteban Gutierrez, explained that he was looking forward to taking part in the first race with his new team.

He said: “I feel very excited after a complete season as a reserve driver. I am full of energy, full of ideas and very hungry to race.

“The development of our car from the beginning will be crucial in order to start the season confident that we have done our job as a team to prepare in the best way possible.”

The Mexican, who has taken part in 38 F1 races in his career so far, described how he spent 2015 observing and learning from Ferrari’s race line-up, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, while getting as much practice as possible in the company’s facilities.

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 2 - Spielberg, Austria

He said: “I focused a lot on my preparation [during 2015]. Basically, anything that will bring me as close as if I were driving. I did a lot of karting, also tested quite a few days in Fiorano with old F1 cars and a lot of days in the simulator in Maranello.

“Ahead of every race I even tried my best to put my mindset as if I was going to race, and I used my imagination to keep my mind sharp. I used all the time that I had to observe the whole team, mainly the drivers in order to learn the best things from them.”

Poll result

A recent JAonF1 poll asked which team would finish ahead in the 2016 championship, Haas F1 or Manor Racing.

Almost 1,700 votes were cast and 59.87 per cent of participants chose Haas F1 as the team they expected to come out on top.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 13.06.50

The American team will reveal its 2016 car on the morning of 22 February ahead of the first day of testing. Grosjean will test on the first and third days, with Gutierrez completing the rest of the event. The Mexican driver will then conduct the first two days of the second test before Grosjean completes the final two days of pre-season running.

What do you think Haas F1 can achieve in 2016? Will it score points in its debut year? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more debate.

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Dallara may have a notable pedigree and substantial engineering acumen, but what have they accomplished in competition with other manufacturers? Hispania’s woes can’t be laid at Dallara’s feet, but it’s worth pointing out that their “success,” as of late has been in series where they are (or are close to being) sole chassis suppliers. Haas’ true test will come in 2017-18, when they have to take full responsibility for their own chassis.


Dallara have no pedigree in F1. All their forays into the sport to date have seen nothing but underwhelming results. I can’t see Haas being ahead of Manor on the back of a first year Dallara chassis. Hispania’s car had some pretty average engineering involved in the chassis apparently.


My opinion is that behind Merc and Ferrari the pack will be very close… RB will have a nice car but engine is the question… so is for TR as the engine will be an old spec. MC Honda? Hope they come back but they took a high road on their engine… and they seem convinced to go that way. Williams FI they will have to watch Haas… they seem have studied what to do for some time ….Manor is putting together skilled people as well… Sauber will need to deliver… but the Haas on papers is ahead and Manor can close the gap soon with the people they have now. Renault will be all a learning process… Another plus? All very good drivers…


“Haas ahead” is just hype. Seen it before. They are nothing on paper… F1 races on tarmac.


A couple of you guys have rnetioned that Manor could become the Merceds “junior team” Do you think that is gong to be how they have to do it in the forte if they want to keep enough competitive teams in the series? Short of a couple of more manufacturers coming on board with engines, it seems to me that it kind of has to go that way, what with no Cosworth type option anymore. They tried, but under the current formula, I would think that only the major players can do one of the power units. Obviously Porsche, Toyota and Audi could jump in, but it seems like Dieselgate put off any possible run by one of the VW group companies. Personally, I think something crazy like a Bugatti team would be fun.


Any “junior” team, even customer team is never going to be truly competitive when running a manufacturer team’s PU. For a grid that contains more than four possibilities to win the constructors championship, there’s gonna have to be another PU provider without a works team (just as Renault and Mercedes have been in the past). So maybe Pprsche, Toyota, Audi… could supply just engines and then the whole grid could potentially be competitive.


Reliable running is a good thing. We saw what happened at Daytona with the new Ford GT. CLEARY the fastest car in the class to the tune of race laps a good second quicker per lap than the top Corvette or Porsche, but problems, problem, problems from the first hour of the race on.


Ferrari Vs Mercedes Battle II (for the back of the grid)

My 10th B/D 05/13/50

If you think Haas F1 will be behind Manor, just Goggle “Dallara Automobli”…………..not a shabby history! I’am just wondering if the Reds will order a Dallara chassis in 2017; just as happened in many of the junior series after Gian Paolo’s cars showed up and “whupped ’em”.

As for organization…………..Mr. Haas has a pretty good reputation in Bumper Cars (NASCAR) as well…………….Go get ’em Gene!

Gunther who??? I think his prior resume has been verified as well.

My prediction…………….at least 4 podiums in 2016.


My prediction…………….at least 4 podiums in 2016.



@My 10th B/D 05/13/50

Second to that Chikano. Lol indeed.

No way they will get a podium this season, a few top 10’s if they were lucky. I personally think Manor will beat them this season. There will be teething problems, and Manor is an established team. Plus the help of a 15 spec Merc engine. I think they will be pretty handy, mate.


I have a gut feeling that both Haas and Manor will score points this year. Haas has enough experience behind the wheel, and enough chassis experience through Dallara, combined with their Ferrari partnership, that I can see them scooping enough to scare some of the established teams.

Manor will also scare some bigger teams, but I give the nod to Haas on driver experience. Presumably the M-B engine in the Manor will balance that out some. And I would love to see Rossi in the second Manor seat.

I’m not a gambler, but I’m sure that a bookie somewhere will place odds (based on last year’s form, and depending on what we see in testing) that Haas and/or Manor will score within 107 percent of McLaren’s points total.


Unfortunately the Haas project is likely not to get off the ground.

We have seen in the various European sports were the US hasn’t got a big presence or investment, they haven’t been able to have a foot hold so much so, the US has gone ahead to form alternative sports such as Indy car racing.

So yes I reckon Manor may have a good chance of finishing ahead of Haas in 2016.


Gene Haas is a very smart guy and not to be under-estimated. He’s allowed Steiner to assemble a talented crew, given the team Ferrari engines, and put a very good Grosjean in the drivers seat. Their performance will likely depend on how good the chassis really is but they sound pretty confident so far.

I suspect that Haas F1 will surprise a lot of folks in 2016 and pick up a few points this year. As an organization they have things much more together than Manor seem to right now.


Ferrari power unit, 2016 model if we are to believe the rumors, Ferrari suspension, brakes and other parts, tub codesigned with Dallara, extra year to play around, team experienced in big time racing, new top guys with lots of F1 experience, etc. . This is, on paper, a very different type of program that the other “privateers” in F1.


and the rest of f1 teams enjoy their bed of experience.


Clearly managing expectations, as well they should. They’re being pretty smart at this point not to put too much pressure on themselves.

That being said, I think with the backing they have and the technical partnerships, they must have realistic goals of being at least somewhat competitive. They’re not going to challenge for wins, obviously. But, I think they’ll do significantly better than more recent add-ons (Caterham, HRT, Virgin) straight out of the gate. They have a very steep learning curve, but have the infrastructure, personnel, and drivers(s) to work through the teething problems.


Yes, they have a couple of things that those other teams didn’t have or have as much of and that is MONEY and “junior team” status with Ferrari at least as close as that between Red Bull and Toro Rosso and maybe closer. I know that it is a different kind of racing, but it can’t hurt that Haas has been a top flight team in NASCAR for a while, so they know how to run a bigger operation, albeit not as insane as a truly competitive F1 team. Their trick wile to see if it is possible to run a “small” team like the old Lotus ones where you are obviously not a full blown “factory” team initially but you are also not just a “gentleman racer” outfit where the driver buys his ride. i think that a realistic goal is for them to try to be like the current Williams team for now. With the Ferrari connection, i think they can be even better down the road. But realistically, to have more than a couple of top teams, we are going to need a couple of more manufacturers to build engines, BMW, VW/Audi/Porsche andToyota being the obvious chooses. IMO, the rumors about Alfa are just that. They should think about LMP1 if Ferrari is not gong to play in that class.


I didn’t think saying their chassis would be better than Ferrari’s was that smart…


Getting their excuses in early?


I’ve followed grands prix since the heady days of Jim Clark on four wheels and Mike Hailwood on two. I think if any rookie team can take a point or two in their first season it will be Haas. I have to admit, as an American I am a little bit biased in my opinion. 🙂


My expectation would be, Haas F1 being in a better shape out of box in races till Europe, but eventually losing out to the Manor, due to experience, leadership issues, like Force India in the earlier years. I dont see them exhibiting a sustainable growth without significant investments(All this will happen, If Alfa romeo doesn’t shows up)

Gaz Boy@virginmedia.com

Lola-Haas-Cosworth of 1986……………if I remember correctly, a young wooly haired Ross Brawn was involved in that project. In vain though – the team withdrew at the end of 1986….


It’s official: Gaz Boy is Richard Branson 🙂


Sssh – I’m trying to get everyone connected to the web via a VM modem – even Formula 1 teams. All part of my world dominance strategy – including over my billionaire mate Mr E…..


Well they’ve had plenty of help from The Prancing Horse.

The Prancing Horse has had plenty of wind tunnel data in return. A symbiotic relationship. Both suckling on each others blood. Well hope Mercedes & Manor have the same relationship. So we can have an A.Team Battle & a B.Team Battle. Both A.Teams will use the B.Teams as blockers for the A.Teams in team strategy I bet.


My understanding is that Haas has been able to double dip (or more) on wind tunnel access during the development process. Obviously, the Ferrari facility is specialized for F1, but remember that Haas and Jacobs engineering built the Windshear 180 mph rolling belt wind tunnel in North Carolina back in 2007. I saw a recent pic of the Delta Wing car testing at that facility and we know from it early race performance at Daytona this year that they have the aero on that ugly little spud pretty well sorted out. I seem to recall also reading that they may have “borrowed” a Lockheed-Martin high speed wind tunnel for some testing. I think that using the Ferrari facility gives them a straight up benchmark for an F1 car because the also get to see how the Ferrari cars compared.


Brillant well researched JoeM.

Thank you for the update.

Very interesting & informative.

Yep that Delta Wing Car is an “ugly spud” as you put it. Haas are the real deal & I do wish them well.

I hope at some stage they start to assert their American Racing Pedigree against the might of Ferrari. ..if “they” i mean Ferrari let them , unless…there is an unofficial understanding …preventing them racing past Ferrari.


If Dallara chassis proves to be reasonable add the Ferrari PU & the rest of it a sound management of Gene Haas with perhaps one of the top three quickest drivers on the grid, they are bound to do reasonably well perhaps better then they anticipate . Good luck Haas F1 !


Imho – He is without a doubt one of the most over rated drivers in F1. Yes he can be quick over a lap but over a GP he makes mistakes racing wheel ti wheel– in this regard hes like Hulkenberg goes one step to far and ruins his/ others races..


Indeed, one of the 3 fastest drivers on the grid. A very underrated driver, Grosjean.


Nice article James

I think it goes without saying that the “mid-field” is where it’s at this year. Haas should be able to mix it up with several teams incl Sauber, Force India and perhaps even Williams later in the year. They appear to have a decent budget and their aero should be quite solid.

The top two teams may be even closer this year but when you start dissecting 3-6th place in the constructors wow it could be lots of choices. How good can manor be? Will Haas chase down some bigger dogs, can Force India keep their roll going?

More fascinating in all of this is who will invest in the 16 hunt as apposed to getting an early start to what seems at least to be some legit changes to 2017 regs. It’s going to be a fascinating season!


James, we need your insider infromation.

Do you know what kind of engine spec is Haas getting from Ferrari ? Will they only get the 15 spec engine like Torro Rosso or are they getting a better one from them ? Are the customer teams allow to develop the engine themselves or not ? or they are forbidden to modify them ?

Thanks in advance.


Pretty sure they get the 2016 spec. HAAS is very much in the family at Ferrari, it’s only outsiders like Red Bull that get last years leftovers.


Going by RG’s helmet, I’m guessing the team colour will be orange: Ferrari yellow with a touch of Ferrari scarlet.


OR… Alonso is driving for them.


Don’t forget the obligatory silver…


So excited to see an American F1 team. The only thing I wish they would have done is to get an American driver. I’m open for the whole season lol


Yes! An American F1 team, cars designed in Italy and run from Oxfordshire UK by a team mostly made up of British people! Really American!


They wanted experienced F1 drivers and they lucked out by signing Grosjean before we found out that Renault was buying Lotus.

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