By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Brand new to the grid in 2016, Haas F1 Team had an incredible year by several standards. The American group scored points in their debut race in the Australian Grand Prix with Romain Grosjean and paced to eighth in the constructor’s standings with 29 points overall on the season. As potential showed in several events, so did the lack of development as good outings became tougher as the year went on. However, one of the best debut campaigns in the history of F1 being the beginning is just the baseline of what this team could be capable of moving forward.
|No. 8||Romain Grosjean||(France)|
|No. 20||Kevin Magnussen||(Denmark)|
|Team Principal||Guenther Steiner|
|Chief Designer||Rob Taylor|
|Chief Aerodynamicist||Ben Agathangelou|
The Unknown of 2017
Haas broke the mold of new teams embarking on F1. In many ways, the ability to build the team in the way owner Gene Haas managed to do is something that several prospective owners looking to enter the sport should follow – it is a successful blueprint for the incoming F1 team.
One of the reasons Haas was so successful is because of its partnership with Ferrari. One of the things working in favor of Haas is getting the upgraded Ferrari 062 power unit, which is the same engine as the factory team.
Gone is Esteban Gutierrez, who failed to score a single point last season and erupted with emotional tirades at various events. However, the team brings in former McLaren and Renault man, Kevin Magnussen to pilot alongside Grosjean.
Haas is one of the teams in F1 with the widest range of possibilities in a year of unknowns. If they can keep up with the development of the VF-17 and avoid any reliability issues (most notably brake issues that plagued them last season), the possibilities could be that of a team set to overtake Force India and even possibly a Williams team undergoing several changes. However the flipside is if they fail to keep up with development it could marginalize them to be behind nearly everyone on the grid.
All things in consideration, a stronger lineup is likely to help throughout the 21-race season as a dogfight is sure to take place between fourth and eighth in the constructor’s battle – so that is likely the ceiling and the floor for the sophomore outfit in 2017.