Haas: F1 development race will be "different game" in 2017

The Haas Formula 1 team is bracing itself for a totally "different game" in 2017 with the development battle between teams expected to be extremely intense.

Haas: F1 development race will be "different game" in 2017
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 Team Principal
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 Team Principal
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H with Halo cockpit covers
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16

The American outfit hit the ground running during its debut campaign last year – scoring points in its first two races – but then facing more difficulties as the season wore on.

However, Haas was still able to deliver competitive outings throughout the campaign as rivals switched focus to their 2017 designs, so there was not much shuffling of the order at the end of last season.

But with teams still finding big chunks of downforce with their 2017 cars, there is an expectation that the update battle will be particularly aggressive this time round, especially in the early stages of the season.

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner thinks that his outfit in particular will face new challenges this year that were not there in 2016.

“It will be a completely different game because the 2017 car will be very similar to the 2018 car,” explained Steiner.

“Last year, the 2016 car had nothing to do with the 2017 car, so we needed to divide it as a completely different car base. This year, every time we make something new for the car, it will also be for 2017. So it will be continuous development. 

"We haven’t made our plan on when we start with the 2018 car because we want to see where we are with this [2017] car because it depends a lot on that – and it is too early to decide that.”

Although Haas was able to challenge for points at a number of races last year, Steiner says that there is much greater uncertainty about how things stack up for this year.

When asked if he felt a clean sheet of paper for all teams could help newcomers like Haas, he said: “It is 50/50. Every challenge in an opportunity. The others have got the same chance, to do a new car.

“It is quite tiring for two years doing a completely new car, and the first year being our first one, but we are doing well at the moment.

“I would not make any comment about how good we are, or if it is good for us or bad, until we see the cars going out in Barcelona or only in Australia at the first GP.

“There is no stake in the ground to know where you could do. Everyone is trying to find out: Where are you? Where are you?

“But what people tell you doesn’t mean anything, so we are all in the same boat. We will wait until Barcelona and work hard to get there as best prepared as we can, and hope the others didn’t do as good a job as us.”

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