Romain Grosjean says that despite finishing the final race of the season just outside the points, the Haas F1 team has the potential to move up the constructors’ championship table in 2017.
The Haas driver scored three points finishes for the rookie team within the first four grands prix of the season, but thereafter was able to add only two more top 10s.
Nonethless, Grosjean scored 29 points for the team, yielding eighth in the constructors’ championship for Haas, ahead of Renault, Sauber and Manor.
After the race he said: “I think we’ve had a wonderful season, surprised everyone, ourselves included. We’ve had some highs, some lows.
"[In Abu Dhabi] we don’t score points with 11th, but if you remove the six top cars, we’re only the third team behind, so that’s not that bad.”
Grosjean said key to the Haas-Ferrari team improving its form next year was having a car that was gentler on tyres over the course of a whole stint, an issue highlighted again in the final race.
He remarked: “There’s a lot of things we can improve through winter. It’s all about tyres and clearly there were some laps where the pace was amazing and the car felt really good when the tyres were working.
“Then a few laps later, things are going out of sync and it’s just much harder. So that’s clearly where we can work.
“I think all the other teams are massively at their limit but we have so much we can improve and make America proud.”
Asked about how a new team will cope with the change in regulations next year to heavily revised front and rear wings and wider tyres, Grosjean said: “It’s a big challenge – a big challenge for everyone.
"But again, we started this year with no knowledge, and we’ve now got 21 races of experience and clearly that’s going to help next year. So I’m confident we can do better than this year."