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Haas "annoyed with missed opportunity" after Australia

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Haas "annoyed with missed opportunity" after Australia
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Mar 30, 2017, 12:44 PM

Haas F1 boss Gunther Steiner admits he was "annoyed" to be leaving the first race of F1 2017 empty-handed after the team had scored its best-ever qualifying result.

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-17
Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-17
Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-17, leads Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36, Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber C36, Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32, Lance Stroll, Williams FW40, and Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17, at the start
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12, leads Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-17
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-17
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-17, leads Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12

Romain Grosjean put his Haas VF-17 sixth on the grid in Melbourne, but retired with a water leak 13 laps into the race while running seventh.

New teammate Kevin Magnussen had started 17th, his race undone early on when he collided with the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson.

Steiner said after the race: "We know the car is good, they [the drivers] are both positive – especially Romain, he was very positive. He lost a place to [Felipe] Massa on the start, but he wasn't too concerned about it.

"He saw the speed, and I mean, everyone could see that he could keep the Toro Rossos easily away, The car has got speed.

"But it's always.. how many opportunities like this do you get? With such a tight midfield, it's a lost opportunity.

"It's disappointing, but it could be worse. We could be slow."

While Steiner lamented the missed chance to score a standout result early on, he reckoned the Haas car's pace around Melbourne means the team will get more chances at a good points haul in the near future.

"The car is pretty good. We just need to get it always in the working range," he said.

"I think the car is where it showed it was here. I think the cat is out of the sack, we know where everyone is. You can mess up a weekend with set-up, but, in general, the car is there. We have got a good upgrade plan, so I feel positive.

"I'm just annoyed with the missed opportunity, you know? It was almost too easy to grab it, to finish seventh or sixth. It was there, we just had to get it to the end without a problem."

More consistency in 2017

Of the 29 points that Haas scored in its debut season last year, 22 came in the first four races, the American outfit dropping down the pecking order as the season went on.

For 2017, Steiner says the team's targets are to be consistently quick at very venue and to ensure better reliability.

"I think it's a lot easier to find reliability than speed," he said. "It seems like we've got the speed. We need to find it everywhere, on each track, more consistent than last year. I think we can do that this year.

"But again, we also need to be reliable, because you can have the quickest car but if you break down, you don't get the points. We will try hard in Shanghai."

The Chinese GP, which follows Australia on the 2017 schedule, was the only race in the first four grands prix of 2016 where Haas failed to score, following a weekend full of set-up issues and a Sunday described as "horrific" by Grosjean.

Asked whether he was confident of avoiding a bad weekend this time around, Steiner said: "I've got a level of confidence.

"I think we learned a lot, and China was one of our lows last year so I hope we don't repeat it. But you never know, it isn't easy."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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