Whilst this week in preseason testing paddock talk has been all about Ferrari, the ‘are they or aren’t they’ real contenders, we take a look at another F1 team that will be Italian powered with a Ferrari engine at it’s heart, the Haas F1 Team. That said engine is the Ferrari 062, a turbocharged 1.6 liter V-6 capable of 15,000 rpm.
New on the grid last year in 2016, Haas F1 achieved one of the best finishes last season for a rookie formula one team, With new regulations in the sport this year, like the rest of the teams, Hass F1 have had to develop a whole new car, the VF-17.
The term “VF” remains on the car, stemming from the word “vertical”, which is a designation term for a vertical mill. As chairman for the team, Gene Haas added the name, along with f1 last season to mean simply: “Very first one.” Now in his second season in the sport, Haas believes that there is a certain significance as his team prepares for their upcoming year.
“Being a Formula One participant brings a level of credibility that you just won’t get through traditional advertising,” says Haas, whose entry in 2016 became the first American Formula One team since 1986. “People are kind of ‘show me’ people, like show me what you can do and then I’ll believe in you. That was the initial concept – to convince people of our ability to do things others can’t, and I think that translates into being a machine tool builder. Bigger, Better, Faster, Lighter is what we strive for in the machining industry and it’s what we strive for in motorsports. People see what we can do in Formula One, and people believe Haas Automation can build world-class machine tools.”
This year’s car, like all the other entries this year, were built on the idea of the new 2017 technical rule changes, which widens the front and rear tires and the front and rear wings along with a new diffuser, which is two inches higher than previous seasons. Guenther Steiner, team principal of Haas, believes that some things have not changed, but the other two thirds he figures have made things better for a more competitive field.
“I think the pedal box is the same, but all the rest is very different from last year’s car,” said Steiner. “You always try to make a faster car, which is normally a lighter car. Now we can put on more ballast and get better weight distribution. The aero is completely new, as are the tires, so we needed to have some built-in adjustability. Aesthetically, the car has a more aggressive look. It’s lighter and more aerodynamically efficient. Everything we learned from our first car has been applied to our new car.”
The car itself has more of a darker kind of silver, along with tones of black, white and light gray, which incorporates the look of the Haas Automotive Corporation Line of vertical and horizontal machine centers, along with turning centers, rotary tables and indexers.
Romain Grosjean returns to the team for his second season, while Kevin Magnussen comes over from Renault, replacing Esteban Gutierrez.
Grosjean scored all 29 of Haas F1 Team’s points in 2016, allowing the organization to finish an impressive eighth in the constructor standings. With Magnussen on board, the team has set its sights on modestly moving up in the constructor ranks. “I think with the knowledge we have, we should actually perform a little bit better this year,” said Gene Haas, founder and chairman, Haas F1 Team. “If we can do a little bit better because our business model in Formula One allows us to operate more efficiently, we might be able to move up a position or two.”
Preseason testing this week at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya, saw the Haas F1 Team racked up an impressive 715 laps or 3,328.325 kilometers (2,068.125 miles) during its 2017 preseason test, some 241 laps more than the same time last year.
The new regulations have dropped lap times by as much as five seconds compared to when teams last visited Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
Overall the teams preseason testing has gone well, a few balance issues and a water leak prevented the team from completing it’s planned tests in all, but Haas will go back and analyze data and get ready for Melbourne.”
Round 1 of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship is the Australian Grand Prix March 26 in Melbourne. Practice begins March 24 and qualifying takes place March 25.