The Haas F1 Team will make its Formula 1 race debut in Australia, and Team Principal Guenther Steiner is ready to see his two drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez take to the track at Albert Park.
Steiner reflected on the first eight days of track action seen by the team during pre-season testing, with issues blighting their time, particularly during the second test, but he insists it is best to have those issues during testing and to solve them rather than have them during a race weekend.
“The first four days were very good,” said Steiner of the tests at the Circuit de Catalunya. “We made good progress and we were on a roll. Then came the second week of testing.
“On the first and second day, we only made a few laps, partly because we had a fuel issue with the electronics and turbocharger. Then on the third day, we had a problem with our brake-by-wire system. Our guys sorted everything out overnight.
“On the last day, we had a very good day of testing and were back where we left off the first week. It was a roller-coaster ride. At the moment, we are as ready as we can be for Australia, but you’re never ready enough. No matter what, we will do our best.
“You’re never happy when you don’t go on the track, but we always found fixes to our problems, and Barcelona was the place to do it. We don’t want that in Australia.”
Steiner was happy with the feedback from both his drivers during pre-season testing, with both giving very similar responses to issues and to how the car felt on track.
“They both had the same feedback of the car and how it was behaving,” revealed Steiner. “When we sent Romain out on the day we experienced the brake system problem, he said, ‘Something is wrong with the brakes, guys.’
It was very difficult to locate the issue because it was electronic, but we believed him because for him to make two mistakes, we knew something was wrong. On the last day, we left Romain in the car an hour longer than planned after lunch so we could finish some set-up work.
“Then we put Esteban in and he confirmed the work we did before. So, we’ve got a basic set-up for both drivers which will be very similar in Australia. They both gave us their input and drove us forward.”
Steiner is hopeful the tyre choices made for the Australian Grand Prix will work in their favour, with the aim for the team to get both cars to see the chequered flag on debut.
“We aimed to determine tyre strategy during the test, but it’s very difficult because the conditions will be different in Australia,” said Steiner. “We picked the three different types of tyres for Australia based on feedback from our experienced team members who have worked in Formula One for a long time.
“How exactly we will use them and how they drop off will be determined over our three practice sessions in Australia. The decision on what tire strategy we use during the race will be made before qualifying.
“Our goal is to have both cars finish, to show that we can compete and be proud of what we are doing.”