Gene Haas: Reliability key to success in debut F1 season

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BARCELONA – Gene Haas believes that reliability will be key to the success of his new Formula 1 team during its debut season in the series.

Haas F1 Team hit the track for the first time with its 2016 car, the VF-16, on Monday in Barcelona at the start of collective pre-season testing.

NASCAR team co-owner Haas was at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Tuesday to meet the media for the first time since the debut of his operation’s new car.

“We have a great engine, transmission, the chassis is good, the only thing that hasn’t really exercised yet is the crew,” Haas said.

“That’s what we’re doing this week is getting the crew to understand how the car goes together, various parts, they have to change the engine out probably half a dozen times so good learning experience there.

“The car’s characteristics is very neutral, has good aero, balance both end, neutral through turns, doesn’t snap or do anything strange, so far looks good, but we have to go faster and faster to maybe find the limits.”

Haas said that he believes a reliable car will be the key to any success in 2016, and thinks the team can finish well inside the top 10 in the constructors’ championship just by getting this right.

“Our plan is actually to basically capitalize on reliability. If we can just be reliable and stay in the races, we could actually probably finish eighth or ninth just by that,” Haas said.

“A good chassis, a good engine, reliable, solid team – we could finish eight or ninth easily in the points just by being reliable. If we have performance, then we can even move up from there, so that’s probably what our main target is, just to make sure that we can finish the races.

“We know the aero is good, we know the chassis is good from just a few days. We’ve got the best engine and transmission package out there. So now it comes down to the team.

“We now have to put a team together that can go out there and execute when we do have bad days, and you have to change whatever to get back on the track or do what you have to do.

“That’s where the team comes in, the way they work on the cars, they put the pieces together, having the right pieces together, and making sure the car is reliable, that’s going to be their job.

“We’ve got all the right components, now we just need to go out and execute. Like a football team, we need to make the passes and make the touchdowns.”