Tag Archives: Haas F1 team

Formula One: Three Car Teams and Budget Caps

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Formula One 2018 is delivering everything and anything a fan of the sport could imagine. From the #FightForFive, to a Hollywood worthy #SillySeason, to midseason team takeovers, new logos, fonts, and of course the epic theme music from Brian Tyler. Yet bubbling just below the surface political games, regulation frustration, and the adage of money talks, continue to put into question how the sport will evolve in the near future.

Two such pressing topics to explore are the number of seats on the grid heading into 2019, and the evaluation of budget caps with the objective of equalising performance. On the face of it there is no simple solution to either issue. On the topic of budget caps, figures in the region of €200-€250M per season with a soft launch in 2019 followed by a regulated implementation from 2020 onwards have been touted by Ross Brawn and fellow F1 management.  Top flight teams have baulked at the prospect of cutting annual expenditure in half and categorically stated that without significant job cuts the target is not achievable. More efficient teams see the cut as insufficient as the spending to the budget cap would still represent more than double their existing spending capability.

That being said, there is a general acceptance Budget Caps are coming and that they will be good for motorsport in general. Top teams are taking steps to prepare for this more regulated future, as referenced on this site a number of months ago. Taking this preparation one step further, could a budget cap combined with a third car allowance be a solution?

Major costs associated with operating a manufacturer supported Formula One team take the form of fixed costs, these include factors such as facilities & employees. The manufacturing of additional race cars would not have a significant impact on the team’s operating budget. In fact, in many cases, top teams will have 3-4 fully operational race prepared cars before the start of a new F1 season. If top teams committed to operating a third car with no increase in the overall operating budget of the team in essence redirecting development budget to operating a third car, therefore reducing the performance gap to the midfield, F1 could solve the pressing issue of a too many high quality drivers and not enough seats and address the B Class championship regularly referenced when drivers in midfield teams discuss the sport.

In order to reduce the prospect of a single team dominating podium proceedings, restrictions, such as the number of races completed, or championship points scored, could be put in place regarding the experience of a team’s third driver. In addition, a team’s third car could be operated from a separate garage space with an alternative livery to ensure a vibrant look to the grid.

Formula One could mandate the that the top 4 teams in the WCC could be eligible to run a third car with the option to sell this provision should they deem the opportunity not relevant to their operating model. i.e. Should Haas or Racing Point finish 4th in the WCC they could sell their 3rd car allocation to McLaren. Or should Red Bull Racing see their existing model with Toro Rosso to better suit the way in which they go racing they could sell the space to another team.

If Formula One were to explore this route, Ferrari could continue to maintain it’s line up of Kimi Räikkonen & Sebastian Vettel, with Charles Leclerc taking the third car. Mercedes could bring George Russell into the team, Red Bull Racing could not offer Fernando Alonso a seat again, and Renault could bring Esteban Ocon on board alongside Ricciardo and Hulkenberg.

Timed with a budget cap which should limit in-season development for teams running third drivers, the performance gap to the two car teams could be minimised bringing the entire field closer together and sustaining the credibility of young driver development programmes.

Toto Wolff has intimidated Formula One should seriously explore regulations around three car teams, with Liberty becoming the promoter of Formula 2 and the soon to be reborn Formula 3, three car teams may be required to ensure participation remains relevant to the next generation of drivers.

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Formula One: Mercedes elevate Haas in Qualifying

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The Haas F1 team achieved their best qualifying positions of the season Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez qualifying 8th and 10th respectively for the Japanese Grand Prix earlier today.

The teams elevated positions on the grid can be in part attributed to continued concerns from Mercedes Powered teams around the reliability of their power unit following Lewis Hamilton’s engine failure at the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Williams F1 team, whose drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas qualifying 12th & 11th confirmed they were using an older power unit (unit 3 of the allocated 5 per season) at the request of Mercedes.

It is understood similar precautions have been taken with at both Force India and Manor Racing. The Mercedes works team also confirmed neither Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg were permitted to run power units at fully optimised levels during qualifying. Completing qualifying in at reduced performance levels may explain why the gap to Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari was less than in recent qualifying sessions.

Non Mercedes powered teams can expect  similar cautionary actions to be taken in the race tomorrow, no doubt every effort will be taken by other teams to capitalise on this opportunity and apply pressure to the power unit dominating the series.

Formula One: Leclerc joins the Haas F1 Team

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Monaco born Charles Leclerc, a 2016 member of the Ferrari Driver Academy currently competing in the GP3 Series for ART Grand Prix, will get his first taste of a Formula One car when he drives the VF-16 for Haas F1 Team on July 8 during the first practice session (FP1) for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Haas F1 Team driver Esteban Gutiérrez, a Ferrari Driver Academy alumnus, has relinquished his seat to allow Leclerc to obtain valuable Formula One experience. Following Silverstone, the 18-year-old Leclerc will reappear in FP1 sessions July 22 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, July 29 at the German Grand Prix, Sept. 30 at the Malaysian Grand Prix and Nov. 25 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In each session, Leclerc will drive Haas F1 Team’s No. 21 car

“This is a fantastic opportunity to get seat time in a Formula One car and I can’t thank Haas F1 Team and Esteban enough,” said Leclerc, who won the season-opening GP3 Series race May 14 at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.  “I’m honored by the faith Haas F1 Team and Ferrari have in me. This is an important step toward my ultimate goal of becoming a Formula One driver.”

Leclerc has quickly risen through the karting ranks and into single-seat, open-wheel machines. After winning 11 karting championships between 2005 and 2013, including an outright title in the 2012 WSK Euro Series Championship, Leclerc graduated to Formula Renault 2.0 in 2014, collecting a pole, two wins and nine podiums in 14 races. In 2015, Leclerc moved to the FIA Formula 3 EuroSeries, earning three poles, four wins and 13 podiums in 33 races.

Leclerc’s motorsport career to date has been backed by watchmaker Richard Mille, a significant partner of the Haas F1 Team. The announcement of his rapid graduation into an F1 development driver position comes at a time of rumours around the Haas F1 Team on suggestions of dissatisfaction with the performance and feedback this season from Esteban Gutiérrez.

Formula One: The race to Baku

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A mere 8 hours after the conclusion of today’s Canadian Grand Prix, all teams will be required to have completed race equipment pack up and have all containers ready to be shipped to Baku ahead of the inaugural Grand Prix of Europe, taking place in Azerbaijan next weekend.

In order to meet this deadline, many teams will begin the pack up process as soon as the race gets under way later today. With mixed conditions forecast teams will be hopeful they do not see a repeat of the 2011 event which due to severe weather conditions saw the race take place over a 4 hour period including a 2 hour red flag period, such scheduling will play havoc with teams planning for the following race.

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The Haas F1 Team have prepared a number of handy info graphics to illustrate the challenges of the second race taking place in Montreal today.

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Traditionally organisers of a new Grand Prix would look to have a minimum of a two week gap between the previous race and their own event. As such it is some what of an anomaly for FOM (Formula One Management) to schedule a Grand Prix at a new location at the tail of back to back races. Teams will be heavily reliant on the Baku infrastructure being 100% prepared to receive them and for there to be no issues in the release of goods from airports. As such many teams have sent crew’s to Baku a week ahead of the race itself.

In a bid to minimise the pressure or risk around set up delays many teams have elected to ship secondary equipment to Baku directly.

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Still the challenge remains to get a crew of around 80 team personnel  10,300 KM from Montreal to Baku in the shortest possible time. There will be little opportunity from team celebrations post race today.

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JWGP will give a bag of jelly babies to the first team to tweet from Baku with the garage set up with the cars in place!

Formula One: Our goal is to take two cars to the finish, hopefully in the points

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Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 Team, Team Principle review the team’s first two races in Formula One and discusses how the team will approach the Chinese Grand Prix.

Two grand prix for Haas F1 Team, two very strong races for Haas F1 Team. Did you think this kind of success would be possible this soon?

“No, not realistically. We always said we would like to score points and make a difference. We wanted to be midfield, but to finish sixth and fifth in our first two races was, for sure, not in the plan. But, we take it and we are very happy about it.”

During each grand prix race weekend, you learn more about the car. But what are you learning about tire strategy and how the different tire compounds affect the car in different ways?

“It’s always grand prix-specific. You go out and test on Friday and Saturday and you learn tire degradation, mainly, and grip levels. I think in Australia we used the data we gained in Barcelona because we didn’t run a lot in Australia due to the weather. Every race is different and every track is different. Each tire reacts differently with the track and we always try to learn as much as possible during the race weekend. But again, we have to choose the tires before the race weekend. Our team has made good decisions and picked the right tires, for the right time, for each race weekend.”

With the qualifying format used in Australia and Bahrain, how advantageous was it to make it to Q2 but not Q3?

“In Australia, we were far from making Q2 because we had some issues in Q1. In Bahrain, we were very happy not to be in Q3 because it allowed us to start the race on a brand new set of tires. With brand new tires, you see a lot more grip on the start. Both drivers took that to their advantage and had very good starts.”

For the first time in Haas F1 Team’s young history, both drivers advanced to the second round of qualifying. How important was that for the team?

“Advancing to Q2 really helped our confidence. We wanted to show that in Australia and couldn’t, but we did in Bahrain and this is what we will try to achieve every race weekend.”

Haas F1 Team has begun its debut season by surpassing expectations. But how hard is it to stay ahead of the curve in Formula One, as everyone is constantly developing their car?

“It is very difficult, but we will continue to develop. We’ll continue to test in the wind tunnel and bring new developments to our car, and that will lead to gains in our aerodynamic program throughout the season. I think we’ll bring new developments like the rest of the midfield packs are doing, or aiming to do.”

Bahrain saw the team’s first live pit stops. How were they, and how does it feel to finally have performed live pit stops?

“I would say two out of the three pit stops were good. We still can improve, but we were in the ballpark. In the third one we had an issue with one of the wheel nuts. I give credit to the crew member because when he went to put the wheel on, he realized something was wrong and took it off again. Had he not fixed it, the car probably would have been stopped after the first two corners from the wheel being loose. So we had an issue, but we solved it and maybe lost two seconds and it didn’t make a difference anyway. The mechanic and his actions stopped us from making an even bigger mistake.”

While the team is performing well and Grosjean has the results to prove it, bad luck has hampered Gutiérrez’s efforts and he’s had back-to-back retirements. How do you balance the success of one driver while working to help the other driver overcome the adversity he’s faced?

“With Esteban’s incident in Australia, you look at it with the mindset of, ‘What can you do when a guy runs into you?’ In Bahrain, we had an issue with his brake disc and are still investigating why it actually broke. We are working with the brake manufacturer to have a better understanding of the issue and avoid it in the future. I spoke with Esteban after the race and he said, ‘Guenther, these things happen. There’s nothing we can do.’ He understands why he’s had to retire from each race and now he’s more determined to get to the end and earn points.”

Explain the level of sophistication with today’s Formula One car. Why can’t a problem be fixed in the garage during the race in the same manner a problem with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car can be fixed during the race?

“If something breaks in a Formula One car, they are so highly sophisticated that it’s quite a process to determine all that’s wrong and then, normally, there’s not enough time to fix it. Plus, your mechanics are involved in all the pit stops, so when something goes wrong, you can’t pull three or four guys to fix an issue because, by regulation, they’re needed for the pit stop with the other car that’s still running on the racetrack. To try to fix the car just to come in last, 20 laps down, doesn’t make any sense.”

Two races in and you’ve already reached some preseason goals, namely scoring points. What do you want to achieve in China?

“One of our goals is to take two cars to the finish, because we haven’t done that one yet. You always want to get better, and the next thing for us to do is take two cars to the finish and, hopefully, both score points.”

ENDS

Formula One: 2nd Driver of the Day Award for Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean has been awarded the Official Driver of the Day accolade for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Having taken the award following the Austrailian Grand Prix, Grosjean and the Haas F1 Team are clearly becoming fan favourites. The number of votes cast or ranking of other drivers has not been made available at this time. With much greater emphasis on the vote from social media commentators it can be expected participation levels will have significantly increased for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Links to future votes will be posted on this site.

Formula One: Points despite no pitstop for Grosjean in Melbourne

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In the build up for the Bahrain Grand Prix, Guenther Steiner has pointed out a somewhat under reported element of Romain Grosjean’s point scoring race in Melbourne. Owing to the red flag period caused by the collision between Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutiérrez, Grosjean was able to make the mandatory change of tyre compounds without actually making a pit stop. This element to the strategy was completely within racing regulations, and demonstrates ‘switched on’ thinking  from the Haas F1 team pitwall.

Guenther Steiner reviews the Australian Grand Prix and previews the Bahrain Grand Prix with some surprising insights:

Haas F1 Team now has its first grand prix under its belt. Obviously, it was highlighted by Grosjean’s sixth-place result, but how did it go overall and what can you take from Australia and apply to Bahrain?

“We had our ups and downs. It started out with not being able to get enough testing in on Friday during practice. We tried to make up for it on Saturday morning during third practice, but we had an incident with a car colliding with Romain (Grosjean) as he was exiting the garage. It started off not too pretty, and then qualifying was not what we wished for, but the team bounced back and we got ready for Sunday. We showed a good race speed and we are ready to go racing. In the end it was all positive. It was hard to get to the positive, but with a lot of work with a lot of hard-working people, we got there. Now the biggest task is to replicate this, which won’t be easy, but for sure we will be trying again.”

Upon your return to Haas F1 Team’s headquarters in North Carolina, were you able to get a sense of how the team’s Australia performance resonated in the United States?

“I think it resonated in a very positive way in all of racing in America. Even those who don’t follow Formula One considered it a big achievement for a new team to finish in sixth place and to be from America, which hasn’t had a presence in Formula One in 30 years.”

From the outside looking in, it appeared Haas F1 Team was taking a very unorthodox approach to building a Formula One team. And while that is relatively true, did the team’s performance in Australia vindicate your methodology, specifically in regard to partnering with Scuderia Ferrari and Dallara?

“I think our plan is working, but we won’t finish sixth every weekend, so we need to be careful with our expectations. I think we showed that you can start a new team and end up in the midfield. We were not last in Australia, which was one of our goals, and I don’t think we will be last this year. How far we’ve come is a sign that our plan is working.”

Haas F1 Team came out of the gate strong in the season-opener in Australia. History tells us not every grand prix will bring that kind of success. How do you manage expectations, internally and externally?

“We are not being arrogant about our early success and we will have our races where we will underperform. Our sixth-place finish in Australia keeps the team going, working very hard and trying to do the best possible job we can. If we continue to do what we did in Melbourne, good results will come.”

The flip side to Grosjean’s sixth-place finish at Australia was Gutiérrez getting caught up in a crash. There was a good bit of damage to the left-rear of Gutiérrez’s car. What needs to be done to repair it and what kind of logistics are involved to get it ready for Bahrain?

“Some of the parts, for example the chassis, were sent back to Europe to be checked and fixed because we can’t do it onsite in Bahrain. We have enough spare parts to build up another chassis, so we will use that. Then the chassis that is repaired will be sent to Bahrain via air to serve as our spare. The guys will have to work day and night to get to Bahrain, but it’s all doable. Our spare quantity is down, but we have enough to get going again, so we will just keep on working.”

Haas F1 Team seems to handle adversity extremely well – be it with technical issues during the second week of testing at Barcelona and when you endured a pit lane collision in practice Saturday at Australia. From your perspective, how well is this new group of personnel working together?

“We chose good, quality people. Nobody gets down in adversity. Everybody gets up. They are working on the solution, not on the problem. They work together because they are professionals and they know they can get it done together as a team. It all comes down to the quality of people, and I think our quality is pretty high.

With wet weather Friday at Australia, it compromised the team’s ability to work on the car’s setup for the race. The weather in Bahrain is usually pretty consistent, and that means consistently dry. How helpful will a full weekend of consistent weather be for you and the team?

“If we can get a good day of practice in with both cars and six hours of running, that will be fantastic just to learn more about this machine.”

With Gutiérrez’s lap-17 crash and Grosjean changing tires during the red flag, Haas F1 Team didn’t make any pit stops at Australia. How is the team preparing for pit stops and is there any worry that’s one element of the program that hasn’t really been tested?

“We didn’t complain that we didn’t have to do a pit stop in Australia, but we will have to do it in Bahrain, for sure. We will do a lot of things during practice in Bahrain to ensure that we are ready. We got away with not doing pit stops in Australia, but we won’t be able to in Bahrain. The focus will be on completing pit stops this weekend so the team goes into the race confident that they have trained properly.”

How did the addition of a third tire option impact your strategy for Australia, and what impact do you think it will have on your tire strategy for Bahrain?

“Everyone has the third tire option, so you just deal with it. I don’t think it has a huge impact because it’s the same for everybody. We just need to make sure we use the three options we’ve got to the best of our knowledge.”

Formula One: Grosjean gets driver of the day, but Haryanto gets the most votes!

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Formula One have announced through social media that  Romain Grosjean has been awarded the inaugural driver of the day honour.

This despite indications ahead of the vote closing that he was sitting in second position behind Rio Haryanto. In confirming the award the F1 social media channel commented that multiple votes from the same user had been not been counted, this may account for change in overall results.

Without taking anything away from Romain, by far and away the most deserving of the accolade it was surprising to see how few votes were actually cast in the process. Hopefully as the season gathers pace a more representative number of votes will be cast in the process. The below twitter exchange explains how users were able to monitor the progress of the vote

In future it will be possible to cast your vote through this link

 

Formula One: Grosjean “This feels like a win”

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The Haas F1 Team made history before and after the 32nd Australian Grand Prix Sunday in Melbourne.

The organization’s debut in Round 1 of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship marked the first time an American team had competed in Formula One since 1986. And after ending a 30-year drought for an American squad in Formula One, Haas F1 Team ended another drought for an organization’s maiden F1 race.

After starting 19th, Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean finished an impressive sixth, earning the team eight points in the constructor standings. The last time a Formula One team scored points in its debut race was in the 2002 Australian Grand Prix when Mika Salo finished sixth for Toyota.

The fortunate outcome was due in part by the misfortune of Grosjean’s teammate, Esteban Gutiérrez, who was taken out of the race in a spectacular accident involving McLaren driver Fernando Alonso. On lap 17 while entering turn three of the 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile), 16-turn circuit, Alonso moved to the outside of Gutiérrez in an attempt to overtake. Alonso’s right-front wheel touched Gutiérrez’s left-rear wheel. The impact launched Alonso into the air and sent Gutiérrez spinning into the gravel trap. Alonso clipped the outside retaining wall and then sailed over the gravel trap. His splintered car ended up on its side against another wall, whereupon Alonso climbed out. Gutiérrez quickly came to check on his fellow driver, and the two walked away unscathed from the harrowing accident.

With debris littering the track, officials displayed the red flag. The field came to pit lane where the cars were stopped, and the only work teams could do to their cars was change tires. Opportunity knocked and Haas F1 Team answered.

After starting the race on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow softs, the team took advantage of the red flag and changed Grosjean’s tires to the Pirelli P Zero White mediums. While the mediums did not have nearly as much grip as the softs, they also did not wear out as fast. When the race went back to green, Grosjean was good to go the distance without pitting. His strategy was to outlast and outrun as many of his counterparts as possible. He succeeded, with only five drivers finishing ahead of him, all of whom belonged to race teams with decades of experience. The sixth-place finish was worth eight points, placing Haas F1 Team fifth in the constructor standings.

Romain Grosjean

“A very good day at the office. This feels like a win. For all the guys who worked so hard over the last few weeks, this is unbelievable. We were unlucky yesterday, but got a bit lucky today with the red flag. Still, we were able to hold off the Williams (Valtteri Bottas) and the Force India (Hulkenberg). We didn’t have much set-up (time) on the car. It was a case of, off you go and see what happens. This is an unbelievable feeling. The guys did an amazing job and I told them, this is like a win for all of us. First race and here we are, P6. A happy day.”

Esteban Gutiérrez

“It’s not the race I was hoping for. However, the most important thing is that Fernando and I are both OK. The car was handling well and the results show we can be very competitive. Romain did a great job for the team. To achieve points in our first race is fantastic. I’m now looking ahead and focusing on Bahrain. I can’t wait to get back out racing.”

Guenther Steiner

“First, the good thing is that Esteban and Fernando were not injured. It was unfortunate for our results, but I think a sixth-place finish makes up for it, and I’m sure Esteban will come back strong in Bahrain. Romain and the team did a great job and a big thanks goes to everyone for working so hard in the months leading up to our first race. Yesterday I said I was looking forward to the race, but to finish it in the points is a dream come true. Now we move forward and on to Bahrain.”

Gene Haas

“A lot of people have contributed to this, so we have to thank all the people, starting with Guenther Steiner (team principal) who put all this together and kept pushing me to go out and try this. The Ferrari people have been excellent. They’ve helped us a lot. Dallara helped us build the chassis. We’ve got a great sponsor in Haas Automation. It’s all great.

“There’s a new F1 team on the block and it’s an American F1 team, so we’re real proud of that. But these other teams are pretty dang good at what they do. I wouldn’t sit here and say we’re going to be in front of them all the time, but today was a good day.

“Obviously, the chassis, aero, engine – they all work. That’s what’s really important. That’s why we took the extra year to work on that. The car is a very stable platform. We’ve kind of known that since (testing in) Barcelona. There’s been a lot of little gremlins and technical issues, but I think the fundamental chassis will be awesome for us.

“Grosjean had a heck of a challenge there. They made the decision to go on the mediums for 39 laps, so that was really pushing it. He basically didn’t chew up his tires initially, so he was able to get 39 laps out of them. I think near the end he was starting to pick up time on the person behind him. Tire strategy, saving your tires, those are the kinds of things that make a driver a legend.

“Grosjean just drove his heart out and did everything he could to keep it up there and it worked out. When (Nico) Hulkenberg was behind him I thought he might catch him, but he held him off and we actually started to make some time. He was saving fuel near the end, so I think once we got to the last few laps and we started to push a little harder, the car really responded.

“This is racing. It’s what we do for a living and, you know, it’s cool. But I’ll tell you, there’ll be some bad days too, so we’ll enjoy this one.”

 

 

Formula One: Modifications to the Haas F1 Livery

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First images coming from the pitlane in Melbourne reveal the Haas F1 Team have made a few changes to the livery of the VF-16. Seemingly grey / silver elements of the livery have been replaced with white. Such a change may improve visibility of Haas branding or may suggest the team have secured a new sponsor.

Further details of the changes will be posted as they become available.