Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez both paid tribute to the Haas Formula 1 Team as the American operation completed its debut season in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous F1 operation onto the grid in 2016, with Grosjean scoring points in its debut outing in Australia.
A season-best result of fifth followed two weeks later in Bahrain, but top-10s proved hard to come by for the majority of the campaign.
Grosjean ended the year with 29 points to his name – all but one of which scored in the first half of the season – while teammate Gutierrez failed to record a single top-10.
“We’ve had a wonderful season and surprised everyone, ourselves included, with some highs and some lows,” Grosjean said after finishing 11th in Abu Dhabi.
“We didn’t score points today but if you take out the top-six cars of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, we’re only the third team behind, which is not that bad.
“There are a lot of things we can improve through the winter, mainly about the tires. Clearly today there were some laps where my pace was amazing and the car felt really good when the tires were working. Then a few laps later things are going out of sync.
“It’s clear where we have to work. All the other teams are close to their limits where we have so much that we can improve on for next season. I’m looking forward to it.”
Grosjean will be joined at Haas next year by Kevin Magnussen, who moves across from Renault and replaces the outgoing Gutierrez.
“I’m very happy to have worked with everyone on this team,” Gutierrez said, having trailed behind Grosjean in P12 on Sunday.
“I really did my best to give them my best performance and the best of myself today. Hopefully, this leaves them all with a great memory.
“It’s been very nice and I’ve been very grateful to work with Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner. I was proud to be with the team, which started from scratch, and to be a part of the project through the season.
“Big thank you to my crew, my engineers and mechanics. I wish the whole team all the best for the future.”
“I think we’re pretty happy with today. We had a competitive car and we finished 11th and 12th, which mirrors the year,” team principal Guenther Steiner added.
“We finished the year on a high even if we didn’t get in the points. I felt that today we had one of our best races with both drivers just out of the points. This is a nice way to finish our first season.
“I’ll take this moment to say thank you to everybody, especially thanks to Gene for giving us this opportunity. Thanks to all the team who work so hard and thanks to both Romain and Esteban for their work all year long.
“Now we get ready for next year.”