Romain Grosjean heads to this weekend’s 2018 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix believing the challenges of the Haas F1 Team‘s sophomore year are well and truly behind them.
Grosjean and Haas stunned the F1 world two years ago when they scored a sensational sixth place on their grand prix debut in Australia. Last year however, the team suffered a double DNF late in the race.
Asked if he expected early season gremlins once again, Grosjean said: “No, I don’t think so. I think 2017 was our most challenging season due to the change in the regulations.
“I think for 2018, we’ve prepared very well, and early on. I’m hoping we’ve done a great job.
“Obviously, we’re going to see from the first races where we are, then try and keep up the development. I think this year’s a bit more straightforward.”
It will be Grosjean’s third Australian Grand Prix with Haas and the Frenchman believes the new VF-18 is the best offering from the American outfit yet.
“The VF-18 has a very good baseline. The feeling I get in the car is very good, which is the main thing. It’s a good-looking car.
“We know where we can update it and try to get more performance from it. We’re going to work on that.
“I think it has a good consistency and a very good platform that all of us, as drivers, want.
“I think it’s the best car we’ve ever had so far for Haas F1 Team.”
Of course, season-opening races often see high attrition rates and Grosjean is hoping to benefit from that, rather than add to the statistic.
“Early on in the season it’s really key to get reliability. It allows you to get results you maybe weren’t expecting.
“Hopefully, that’s going to be on our side, then we can score quite a lot of points early on and stay in the fight for a good constructors position.”
It’s not just the car Grosjean has focused on in the off-season. With limited testing during the winter, Grosjean has been working on his personal fitness, but says there’s no substitute for being in the car.
“The more time spent in the car, the better it was. Muscle-wise, you train all winter long and your muscles are not used to getting the loading from the F1 car.
“So, the more seat time you get, the better it is, and you can then try more things as well. Again, there was nothing we could do about the snow, the cold weather or the rain.
“I still feel like we’re ready to go and enjoy Australia.”