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F1 season review 2016 - Haas makes dream start before rookie problems start to bite

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F1 season review 2016 - Haas makes dream start before rookie problems start to bite
Dec 31, 2016, 4:36 PM

Haas F1’s debut season in Formula 1 was the best for a new team in recent memory, as the team finished eighth in the constructors’ standings.

Haas F1’s debut season in Formula 1 was the best for a new team in recent memory, as the team finished eighth in the constructors’ standings.

The American squad exceeded all expectations with 29 points – 18 of which came courtesy of Romain Grosjean at the first two events – and it finished well clear of Renault, Sauber and Manor in the teams’ competition.

Grosjean added further points finishes in Russia, Austria and the USA, but the team did begin to struggle to match its early results as it fell behind in the development race and the usual rookie problems hit home from mid-season.

XPB.cc Romain Grosjean

The team suffered some severe braking problems towards the end of the season, which forced Grosjean out of the Singapore and Malaysian races, and the Frenchman was regularly head complaining over the radio about the handling of his VF-16.

Haas’ form was also somewhat inconsistent. Both Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez made it through to Q3 in Japan but qualified towards the rear of the field at the next race in the USA as the team struggled to unlock steady performances from its car.

Reflecting on 2016, the squad’s team principal Guenther Steiner hailed its owner Gene Haas’ decision to align closely with Ferrari and use as much of the Scuderia’s technical input as F1 rules allow as the reason for its instant success.

XPB.cc Guenther Steiner

He said: “Thanks to Gene Haas, who had the belief in the idea that we would have to do it differently because more of the same would not work. Gene’s wish was to find a different way. We did and it worked out. I think we surprised a lot of people and I think a lot of people admit it, and I think we are perceived now as one of the 11 F1 teams.”

Grosjean vs Gutierrez

Grosjean’s performances in the early races won him much acclaim and the results vindicated his decision to leave Lotus just as it was about to be taken over by Renault in 2015. He did have a few off weekends – and crashed on the way to the grid in the wet at Interlagos – but he demonstrated good speed throughout the year.

Romain Grosjean Esteban Gutierrez Gene Haas

Esteban Gutierrez was unlucky to not score a point – he finished 11th five times – but he did provide Haas with its first Q3 appearance at the Italian Grand Prix. However, he did not go on to capitalise on good starting positions and he lost the inter-team qualifying battle 12-9 to Grosjean. The Mexican driver ultimately did not do enough to retain his seat for 2017, when Haas will replace him with Kevin Magnussen.

What did you make of Haas F1 in 2016? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Romain Grosjean Shop Now