Haas have announced that they are shifting focus towards their 2017 challenger after a successful opening half to their debut season.
Romain Grosjean managed an outstanding 6th and 5th place finish in the opening two races that sent a stark warning to the midfield teams. Haas had arrived with the intent to compete from the off. Following the massive success in the opening two races, the team have only managed two other points finishes since.
I guess if Haas had scored their 6th and 5th finishes in the last two races, we’d all be saying how amazing they’ve done. When you score the big results in this game does have an effect on the perception from the outside, but team boss Gunther Steiner feels confident that now is the time to pour resources into the 2017 car. He said,
“We are not doing anything with the ’16 car anymore. Where we are with the ’17 car, we think we are in a good place, but until after we go out next year at the first test, we don’t know because other people are developing.
We are always trying to hit a moving target, but everybody’s confident we are getting there.
Wind tunnel sessions are filled with parts to try, we are doing CFD, we are maxed out on everything as allowed by the FIA and everybody seems to be confident that we are on the right path. Where we are – only next year will tell when we get on the track.”
– Gunther Steiner
This seems to be another intelligent move from the Haas team that shows confidence in their drivers and the VF-16 beneath them. The car does look like it’s on the outskirts of the points at each race, and they probably already have a points tally that surpasses their initial expectations. They’ve already beaten Manor and Sauber, because something miraculous would have to happen for either of those teams to score more than 28 points.
Hockenheim will be a challenge for the team though, because Mercedes-powered cars will go very well here. Williams and Force India will probably be stronger, and when you add the top three teams into the mix, you already have ten competitive cars that should be scoring the points.
Grosjean wants to end on a high before the summer break. He said,
“I’d like us to go into the break with a strong final race. It’s always good to get a morale boost before the shutdown. Everyone can reflect on what we’ve done and what we can do better. It’s important for everyone to get a rest. It’s a long season and we’re only just over halfway through at the break. The big flyaway races come after that. We’ve had an amazing first half of the season and I’m sure we can do more in the second half. For that, we really need to keep working, keep our focus and take some rest whenever we can.”
– Romain Grosjean
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) July 22, 2016
His team-mate Esteban Gutierrez is yet to score a point for the team, but has come tantalizingly close with a handful of 11th place finishes. He added,
“I want the team to be going into the summer break in good shape with a positive race at Hockenheim. I feel it will be an important occasion for every team member to also recharge their batteries because it has been quite a nonstop season for us right from the beginning. It will be an important break. Everyone can come back strong and we can continue our way through the season.”
– Esteban Gutierrez
Haas will go into the summer break at least 8th in the constructor standings, unless Renault do something very special. They will poach points in the second-half of the season, but with the 7th placed McLaren looking like they have greater development resources this season, they will be very hard to catch.