Gene Haas: Debut F1 points justify taking an extra year to prepare

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Gene Haas believes that Romain Grosjean’s charge to sixth place in his new Formula 1 team’s very first race justifies the decision to have delayed its debut until 2016.

Haas F1 Team hit the grid for the first time in Melbourne in Sunday and became the first start-up outfit since Toyota in 2002 to score points on debut.

NASCAR team co-owner Haas had the option to rush the team’s entry and get on the grid for 2015, but ultimately opted to spend another year preparing.

Haas was thankful to all involved with his F1 project, but also said that the strong pace of the team from the outset is a clear indication that taking more time was the right thing to do.

“It’s been a long time in the making to do this,” Haas told NBC Sports.

“A lot of people have contributed to it, so you have to think all the people starting with Gunther who put this all together and kept pushing me to go out and try this.

“We’ve had the Ferrari people have been excellent, they’ve helped us a lot and Dallara building the chassis. We’ve got a great sponsor, it’s all great.

“The chassis, engine, aero – they all work. That’s really important. That’s why we took the extra year to work on that. Ben in our aero department, he spent a lot of time getting the aero right.

“The car is a very stable platform. We’ve kind of known that since Barcelona. We’ve had a lot of little gremlins and technical issues and rain and so forth, but I think the fundamental chassis going to be pretty awesome this year for us.”

Haas has approached F1 very different to other new teams in recent history, opting to use as many of technical partner Ferrari’s components as possible instead of going it all alone.

Team principal Gunther Steiner explained how seeing teams such as Caterham, Marussia and HRT fail in recent years taught Haas that it had to do things differently, leading to its debut success.

“We knew just doing more of the same like the other ones did just didn’t work,” Steiner told NBC Sports.

“Three tried and didn’t achieve a lot, so we said if we do more of them, we’re not more clever than these guys, there’s a limit to how clever you can be. We said we need to find a new idea.

“Thanks to to the collaboration with Ferrari and the rules being a little bit more in favour of us that we can buy some parts, that helped.

“I would say without the help of Ferrari, we wouldn’t have achieved what we achieved today.”