Despite many disapproving of the model used by the Haas F1 Team on entering F1 for the first time last year, Team Principal Guenther Steiner believes it worked brilliantly for them.
The American squad used their strong ties with Scuderia Ferrari, who not only provided power to the VF16, but also offered use of their wind tunnel, as well as supplying many parts to Haas, who then commissioned Dallara to produce their chassis.
This set-up meant that they never struggled to get themselves off the ground like teams such as Manor Racing MRT endured, and even saw them achieve the best start by a debut team since 2002, when they took sixth place in the first race of the season, and followed that up with a fifth at the next round in Bahrain.
Steiner believes that what Haas was able to achieve is a positive sign for the sport, and is clear proof that getting a foothold in F1 is achievable if you do it the right way, as he explained to Racer.com.
“I think we have proven that doing it a different way works, even if in the beginning we were told it would not work.
“Sometimes you need to look outside of the box – as cliché as that sounds – because two or three years ago people were looking at our model and saying, ‘That will never work,’ but we looked at it and thought doing the same as all the other new teams hasn’t worked, so why would we do it?”
“I think we proved a point, not that we get anything for proving that point but at least it is good for Formula 1 and I think it appreciates what we did for the sport in general – not for us but for the sport – to show that it can be done.
“We still have to do it again this year and be competitive, but I think it was a good start.”
An eighth place at the fourth round of the season in Russia, seventh in Austria, and tenth in the United States, completed Haas’ points tally for the year, seeing them end 2016 in eighth place overall. Performance tailed off in the latter half of the season, but it was still a solid start for the newcomers, earning them kudos within the paddock, and plenty of interest from investors.
“We have some [new partners], but you always want more!
“At the moment we are pretty happy with what we’ve got and they will be shown at the launch. They are not huge partners, they are big companies but they are not huge on the car.
“When you start a relationship you need to start small normally, because if relationships start big they normally end small. It’s better if they start small and end big, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”
This season sees Kevin Magnussen partner Romain Grosjean, who scored all of the American squads points last year, and the Dane will complete a solid driver line up that should be able to push Haas further forward in 2017.