Double finish the target for Haas on debut in Australia

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Günther Steiner is targeting a double finish for the new Haas Formula 1 Team when it makes its grand prix debut next weekend.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will see his eponymous team hit the grid for the first time on March 20 when drivers Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean line up to start the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

After an impressive start to testing in Barcelona, expectations for Haas are quite high heading to Melbourne, with debut points even thought to be within its reach.

However, team principal Steiner is remaining realistic, instead focusing on getting both of the team’s cars to the finish line in its first F1 race.

“Our goal is to have both cars finish,” Steiner said. “To show that we can compete and be proud of what we are doing.”

Haas had a more difficult second week of testing as a number of issues limited the mileage of the VF-16 car, but Steiner was comfortable that these problems were resolved and will not reoccur in Australia.

“That’s what testing is for. The good thing is, we had a front wing failure on the very first day and we fixed it within hours and were out on the track again,” Steiner said.

“We had a problem with the brake-by-wire system, but our guys fixed it overnight. We had an electronics issue and had to work through the night to fix it.

“You’re never happy when you don’t go on the track, but we always found fixes to our problems, and Barcelona was the place to do it. We don’t want that in Australia.

“[The team] put in so much effort. It was more than just the two weeks of testing. These guys put in two weeks working day and night before testing to finish the car.

“We’ve had day and night shifts the last four weeks, and they’ve worked well together. They didn’t get stressed out and they never panicked.

“I can’t thank them enough for the work that they did over the past few months.”

The Australian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN on March 20.