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Haas reliability through opening F1 test ‘a lot better’ in 2017

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Haas Formula 1 chief Guenther Steiner says that the team’s reliability has been “a lot better” through the opening test of 2017 compared to its debut outing last year.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous F1 operation onto the grid in 2016, with Romain Grosjean heading up its charge to eighth place in the final constructors’ standings.

Haas ventures into the 2017 season looking to build on a solid first year in F1, and Steiner already feels that it is in better shape following the first test than at the same point in 2016.

The most notable stat from Haas’ first test showing was its mileage. Between Grosjean and teammate Kevin Magnussen, the Haas VF-17 managed 343 laps – the fourth highest for any team in Barcelona.

“Reliability has, obviously, been good. This year we’ve had very few and very small problems,” Steiner said.

“Compared with last year, it’s been a lot better. That is how it should be. Ferrari did a very good job this year with the power unit package. It’s been very reliable.

“The engineers will now go over the data and the comments from the drivers, and out of that we will establish a test plan for next week.

“We know a lot more about the car now than we did four days ago. Now we can make the next step and hone it out, make it better.”

Haas’ early strength in 2017 has also been noticed by new arrival Magnussen, who joined the team from Renault over the winter.

“It’s a really well organized team. We have a good bunch of guys here, good engineers, designers, and Dallara is doing a good job, really really really impressed with them,” Magnussen said.

“They stepped up their game. I wasn’t here last year obviously so I can’t tell really how they did then, but you know the job they’ve done this year with the quality of the car and the components, and the chassis is very nice.”

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.