Steiner elated with ‘fantastic’ test debut for Haas F1 Team

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Haas Formula 1 chief Günther Steiner made no secret of his delight following the American team’s strong start to pre-season testing in Barcelona this week.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas’ eponymous team was unveiled to the world on Monday ahead of its on-track debut, becoming the first American operation in F1 in over 30 years.

Despite only hitting the track on Monday, the VF-16 car has made a big impression already as drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez both racked up the mileage over the four days of testing.

Gutierrez capped off the test by completing a race simulation, the first for Haas, to take the team’s total lap count to 281 over the four days.

Team principal Steiner was elated with the first impression that had been made, admitting that he did not expect Haas to complete so much running in its infancy.

“In general the first test was a fantastic four days for us,” Steiner said.

“We got a lot of running in which we didn’t expect because we are a new team, we are only four days old.”

However, he admitted on Wednesday that Haas couldn’t afford to rest on its laurels when asked by MotorSportsTalk if the team was ahead of schedule.

“You’re never ahead in Formula 1,” Steiner said. “You don’t know really where you want to be.

“I think we are making good progress. I wouldn’t say ahead, we’re on target. We would like to be even further ahead. You always want more, you’re never satisfied to be honest.”

Despite having a few issues during the day, Gutierrez was pleased with his second outing in the car, believing that it has laid a good foundation for the second test starting on Tuesday.

“We had a productive day considering our circumstances,” Gutierrez said. “We completed a fairly good amount of laps which was the main program for today.

“Obviously we had some small issues in the morning and in the afternoon which interrupted the plan but it was all meant to be to solved and find out the reliability issues we can have in the car.

“This is why I think it was good, not ideal because obviously the ideal would be to complete the whole program, but the team did a very good job.

“The guys have been working very hard to put the car on track and we managed to do a fairly good amount of consecutive laps which will give us a lot of data to analyze and prepare for next week.”