High Hopes for Haas Heading into Bahrain
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News March 28, 2016
When the Haas F1 Team took the grid last weekend at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, it had been 30 years since an American team competed in Formula One.
Expectations were surpassed when Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean finished sixth, his best result since coming in third at the Belgian Grand Prix last season.
“It went better than expected, to be fair. It was a difficult weekend with the weather, and a tricky qualifying session for everyone. Sunday is the day you really want to perform, and we did very well. The car was reliable and it went to the end. The strategy was perfect. Since day one the car has shown huge potential. We showed that in Australia. With barely any setup work, we put it on the track and managed to hold on to sixth at the end of the grand prix,” Grosjean said.
The performance nabbed eight points for Grosjean in the championship driver standings and eight points for Haas F1 Team in the constructor standings.
The last time a Formula One team scored points in its debut race was in 2002 when Mika Salo finished sixth for Toyota at the Australian Grand Prix, a span of 14 years.
“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,” team principal Guenther Steiner said.
Bahrain made its debut on the Formula One calendar in 2004, becoming the first grand prix to be held in the Middle East. The 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix marks the 12th in series history. The circuit is known for massive run-off areas, with substantial track width across its layout .
This encourages overtaking but has been criticized for not punishing drivers who make mistakes and stray off course. Since the track is located in the middle of the desert, sand can play a factor – to the level of grip on the track and to the performance of the car’s engine air filters.
The 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix starts with Practice Friday, April 1, with qualifying on Saturday, April 2 and the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, April 3.