Romain Grosjean says critics who said he was committing career 'suicide' by joining the new Haas team have already been proven wrong by his brilliant start to the season.
The Frenchman and his American outfit have been one of the sensations of 2016 after scoring points in the first two races of the campaign.
And with his former Renault outfit having yet to finish in the top 10 after its winter of restructuring, Grosjean has said that he has never doubted that he was doing the right thing in joining Haas.
“Some people said it was a career suicide, but I think they were wrong, so sorry guys,” explained Grosjean.
“I am very glad. I say thanks to [sponsor] Total, to Renault, to all those guys at Enstone who helped me, but I made my choice. I believed in the project and I had seen enough to think that in few years in F1 that it could be good.
“Now we see the truth, and so yes it has probably allowed me to grow up in a different environment, where they are more welcome.
"They really wanted an experienced driver, they rely on me, and although after races [like Bahrain] we are tired as we have to give a lot of energy, on the other hand it fills you up with the confidence they put on you. It's very nice.”
Keeping up form
Haas is hoping to bring regular developments to its car, although feels that there is still more potential to be unlocked from the current configuration.
Grosjean believes that the team can build on the strong start to the year, rather than feel it will inevitably fall away as bigger money rivals bring on their upgrades.
“We’ll try,” he said. “Gunther [Steiner] is going to push to get everything we need to get the upgrades.
“We are a small team unlike others, so it’s going to be harder. But I think we’ve got some very clever people and there are clear direction that we want to go.
“Generally you want more downforce with no more drag in the car. You want a few places to be improved.
“I think [in Bahrain] we had clear ideas what we could do with the mechanical setup as well. You are used to numbers from the past and you come here and the numbers are different.
“F1 tends to go in one direction, and then you realize the numbers don’t mean the same one day as they used to mean another day. So, you have to reset your mind. That’s not easy to do.”
Although Haas has shown good race pace in the first two events, Grosjean is aware that China's track characteristic – and the fact it is so hard on front tyres – will make it much harder.
“China will be massive front graining as it’s front-limited,” he said. “We need to work around that.
“So far, we’ve been very good protecting our rears. With front graining I don’t know. So, it’s going to be interesting to see.
“All the people have got data from previous years, mechanical balance and everything. We have nothing.”