With still a few races to go in this year, Gene Haas has already abeled his team’s maiden season in Grand Prix racing a resounding success which exceeded expectations.
Haas kicked off its rookie campaign at the pinnacle of motor sport with a series of impressive results in the first four races of the season, but the US outfits performance level quickly tapered off right as the inevitable difficulties and challenges of running in the big league emerged.
Regardless, Gene Haas was impressed with his troops at the outset.
“It’s been super successful,” Haas told reporters at a function at the team’s base outside Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We’ve said this a number of times, If we said [at the start] we would have 28 points by midyear, we all would have taken that one. Midyear has been a little tough on us because we haven’t really scored any more points.
“But I think we did better than expected at the beginning, we were less than happy with what happened in the midseason but we have four more races. We have the latest aero package. So we’re optimistic.”
Haas appears to have once again a bit of wind at its back as Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez demonstrated in Japan when both drivers reached Q3 on Saturday afternoon. But accomplishing that feat also brought its own new challenge.
“Keep in mind that we learned the hard way that when you go to Q3, you have to start on your qualifying tires.
“So the people that beat us were people behind us that started on their medium tires and they had a 1-pit strategy where we had to pit twice.
“Obviously, I think some of the guys in front did the two-stop strategy but they had faster cars. But our cars were definitely faster and the cars are faster around the turns now. So I think that will help us quite a bit in the rest of the races.”
On the verge of this weekend’s US Grand Prix in Austin – a home race of sorts for the team – Haas expressed his pride to fly the American flag, but insisted that for now, it was all about Haas’ future and making sure Formula 1 is part of it.
“We get a lot of people that would like to see us to, say, become the American team. We’d like to have people throw money at us, too.
“The good news is we’re going to have a second season.”
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