Romain Grosjean, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

Grosjean hails “two unbelievable races” for Haas

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean said Haas had made an “unbelievable” start to life as an F1 team after finishing fifth in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The team had already stunned the paddock by taking sixth place on their debut in Australia. while that result came partly thanks to a mid-race red flag, in Bahrain they scored fifth in a race which stayed green throughout.

“We have had two unbelievable races but we have to keep our feet on earth,” Grosjean told Sky after the race. “There’s some more work we can do but this is crazy, this is nice.”

“It was unbelievable fighting with Williams, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and not having any issues,” he added. “Driving the car the way I wanted. Good strategy, aggressive the way I wanted with the super soft tyres, we wanted to have a lot before the race. That was the idea.”

“There are plenty of areas where we can improve but this is a dream debut.”

Grosjean said he is revelling in the team’s VF-16 chassis. “I’ve got a very big confidence in the braking which allows me to attack,” he said. “Confidence in what the car is going to do so I very much love the platform and the car and all the systems inside. It allows me to unlock the potential.”

After two races Grosjean is fifth in the drivers’ championship on 18 points – the same score as Kimi Raikkonen – and Haas lies fifth in the constructors’ standings.

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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49 comments on “Grosjean hails “two unbelievable races” for Haas”

  1. I said after he signed with Haas last year that he was taking a gamble, albeit a very understandable one.

    I bet he doesn’t have one second of doubt right now that he made the right decision.

    1. @tdog The point is whether it will bring him a Ferrari seat in the future or will he stick with them and slowly but surely fall into the midfield whilst Renault will one day be at the front?

      1. How many years Ferrari was dreaming to be at the front ? Not sure Renault will be before Grosjean retired from F1.

      2. @xtwl Renault is never going to be at the front unless they get the next PU rules right.

      3. @xtwl We never know about team Enstone’s future, actually. Not all manufacturer teams eventually come good Look at Ford, Honda (though they’d have maybe dominated 2009 were it not for the 2008 crisis), and Toyota for example.

        1. @peartree @davidnotcoulthard @corrado-dub, But there are plenty of good stories too, Mercedes to begin with. In the last 16 years only Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes have won championships. Three of those (McLaren before Mercedes entered) are works teams. Red Bull won thanks to their aero, and Brawn is basically the odd one out if you like.

          So what are the chances of winning a race with Haas compared to those winning one with Renault. I rather see Renault pulling it together before Haas is there.

          1. @xtwl Fair enough (Brawn was a team that won with the chassis of a manufacturer team (like Ferrari did once in the ’50s) and RBR had a works team kind of budget (and of course Viry lost Enstone so they turned to Milton Keynes)). I guess I see your point (though I still think you sort of implied that team Enstone’s progress to the front is guaranteed when it’s really not that guaranteed).

          2. Lol you are forgetting Renault winning two championships…

          3. @davidnotcoulthard Not guaranteed, but more likely for sure?

            @jureo I saw it when I pressed ‘post comment’.

          4. Good point. Lets say championship winning seats are out of reach, what better carrer move can he do?

          5. Again, Renault is never going to be in a position to win a title unless there’s a significant rule change that sees them getting a head start. Haas has to start making their own cars if they want to win, with that in mind Haas is not a long term option, therefore I’m not saying that you are wrong just saying that Renault is never going to win.

          6. No guarantee that Haas isn’t going to start getting more independent. But Haas has a business strategy to racing which starts with leveraging existing teams to get a good, and profitable, start in competition. They’re scoring points and setting themselves up for prize money next year and they’ve already started working on the 2017 chassis early to get a jump on the competition. That’s what pairing with Ferrari to start with allows you to do. Going about it like Manor doesn’t free up resources to plan ahead. And they’re getting data from this year which might eventually help them should they move to Ford one day which is a possibility since Haas switched from Chevy to Ford in NASCAR. Don’t be too quick to think you know what Haas has up their sleeves since noone predicted what they’d be doing now.

          7. to be honest, Mercedes were not good until the new engine formula came in. they inherited Brawn and went backwards, to 4th best for about 3 year. the new engine formula has carried them, a lot of people argue that Red Bull still has the best chassis.
            For HAAS to be scoring points in the first 2 races against MERCEDES powered teams, that to me is more impressive then Mercedes re-entry into the sport, FAR MORE impressive, and Mercedes wasn’t a new team, they bought out an existing team.

      4. MG421982 (@)
        3rd April 2016, 19:37

        You’re right, but he’s already 29 and by the time Renault will be fighting for champs, he might be… 32, 33, 34… so, maybe too old to have a real shot anymore even if he’ll be racing the best car on the grid. I mean, his team mate could be significantly younger and kinda beat him without much problems, something like Vettel-Webber. Then, I don’t quite see him at Ferrari at all given Ferrari’s philosophy. I mean, they have Vettel already as no.1 driver and he’s younger than Grosjean too… so I don’t quite see how Grosjean fits in! I mean, the only position available will be no.2 and I don’t see GRO accepting that. So, in my opinion, after Kimi retires, I see Ferrari going for some really young blood to put in their 2nd seat, somebody significantly younger than Vettel, like Verstappen, Vandoorne etc. I could be wrong tho, of course.

        1. @corrado-dub I agree, to follow up on your thoughts, I don’t see Kimi gone before 2018.

        2. pastaman (@)
          4th April 2016, 4:44

          Ferrari do not typically hire younger drivers

      5. If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on Haas staying ahead of Renault for foreseeable future.

        1. easy, they have Ferrari 2016 engine, which is much ahead of Renault, so even if Renault improves chassis, they will need to improve closer to Red Bull level, and that is unlikely to happen on the chassis.

  2. Ferrari have surely got to consider Grosjean at the end of this season. He was stronger than Kimi towards the end of their Lotus pairing, he’s younger and he’s hungry for success.

    I think he’s earned it more than any of the other names being thrown around.

    1. @sparkyamg

      Agree. When Ferrari were looking for a Kimi replacement last year, I was hoping they would go with either Romain or the Hulk. Romain has really matured a lot since 2012, and he has gotten consistently better with every season. Plus he seems like a nice guy and easy to work with fella. As you mentioned, he’s hungry and looking to prove himself at a top team. At his current form in his career, he seems like a far better option than Kimi, and I think he should be the top dog for that seat in 2017.

  3. Kudos to him and this car is probably better than any of Lotuses from v6 era. He drives with confidence and these are the results.

  4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    3rd April 2016, 19:35

    Grosjean is on fire!!! What a start for Haas and what a delight it is to have an American team in F1 that’s doing great.

    Watching his interview where he says “I’ve never been that high in the championship before!” is amazing. Very appreciative of his team’s efforts too!

  5. He seems genuinely happy to be fighting among the points let alone have a chance at grabbing a seat in the Red team next season.Seeing Renault languishing at the bottom would have made his decision even more wiser.

    Can’t believe Renault and RB share the same engines :)

    I can see Kimi going out on a high this year and Grosjean replacing him there. Task for Haas to find the next Grosjean who will bring home the points.

    Great effort from the guy. Drove a nice & clean race and the team’s strategy was also well executed barring the delay at the pitstop. If only Guti also improves…

    1. TexanHombre
      3rd April 2016, 21:34

      Recall Renault is using Lotus’ chassis. They’re working on a new one for next year.

      1. it is the same team, bought out by Renault, same people working though.

    2. pastaman (@)
      4th April 2016, 4:45

      You mean, if only Guti’s car improves

  6. Grosjean delivered and has made himself look good, but in the end the Haas really is a great chassis and the fact that Guttierrez is so close to Romain is a deterrent to me

    1. What do you mean close?

    2. Too early to say, although Grosjean has beaten Gutiérrez in qualifying so far.

    3. Grosjean has been pretty well ahead of Gutierrez in qualifying and he was well ahead of Guti in Australia as well. Guti made a good jump to follow Gros in the beginning at Bahrain but I can’t see him pulling off some of the passes that Gros did as easily. Gros is a better driver, that’s clear even with Guti’s bad luck.

    4. I think it might be a case of people under estimating Guti as much as anything else.

  7. Mark in Florida
    3rd April 2016, 20:12

    Great job from Romain, he is really fired up. You can see the genuine emotions poring out of him when he speaks. Really proud of our American team. I also hope that Ferrari gets on top of the engine issues. If Gutierrez can finish in the points also Haas will look truly miraculous for a first year team.

  8. This pretty much cements Haas on front of midfield. For sure Manor or Sauber will strugle to get anywhere similar points over a season. So last place is out of the question…

    Their pit stops however were terrible… Not even one was trouble free..

    They have an amazing car to boot. Operationally once they get hooked up, they should be rivaling SFI, Williams and STR…

    1. They pitted (if I’m correct) three times today. Those are the first times they’ve ever done one, and I think the best was around 3.5 seconds. Not exceptional but that will come with more live experience I’m sure.

  9. After a rather humble set of seasons following 2013, I’m so glad he’s now finally getting the credit he deserves. A really top effort by himself and well done to Haas for doing such a good job!

    On a related side-note, their livery is really growing on me now. I know grey colours are not interesting, but I actually think it’s quite nicely done and it matches their products brilliantly!

  10. I wonder how many brave souls put him in their predictions?

    1. I for one did, with a top 6 bet. I am a happy man today.

    2. Hey @george, a total of 22 WPC contestants included GRO in their predictions – around 3% of total entrants. Nearly all of them tipped him to run 5th, including @Dragon86 who ended up equal 3rd highest scorer for the GP.
      Only 11 included VAN, will be interesting to see if there are a few more if he gets another run.

      1. @juan-fanger, Given my performance in predictions, I’ll take that 3rd place.

      2. @juan-fanger
        Nice stats! Actually it’s quite surprising half as many people chose Vandoorne as Grosjean in his debut race, considering Grosjean was only one position off in the previous race. Then again McLaren were looking pretty racy in practice.

  11. So happy for Haas and Grosjean. I’m happy for Haas, not because of nationality, but because it is rewarding to see a new team have any success against nearly insurmountable odds. Especially when considering the track record of other new teams in the not so distant past.

    Haas has made some good key decisions in personnel with Guenther Steiner, Roman Grosjean in particular. It was wise to not enter F1 in 2015, but 2016 instead. Teaming with Ferrari has been good. Yet, it is still the most pleasant surprise of this young season to see Grojean and the Haas team scoring meaningful points.

  12. Am I the only one who thinks something just doesn’t feel quite right here? Grosjean is doing a stellar job. But such a competitive car for a newcomer seems outright impossible. Even established manufacturers take 2 to 3 years to be anywhere near competitive as how Haas is doing right now.
    Sure, they had an extra year of development. But surely that isin’t enough to build a car that is faster than the likes of Redbull, Williams, FI, Torro Rosso. without any track experience.
    Somehow, I feel that there is (or was) a lot more to the relationship between Haas and Ferrari than what meets the eye. I hope it is not. For the value and pride of being a constructor in F1, I hope it is not so!

    1. @rojov123

      Maybe that’s why they had so many inquisitions in to their working relationship with Ferrari. Honestly, we cannot say anything for sure, but I agree that it’s really shocking that they are so competitive so soon. Maybe Haas is a Ferrari ‘B’ team with shared resources on chassis design as well. Maybe they’re testing concepts and parts for 2017 Ferrari on their car this year. It’s hard to draw any judgements from the outside, only Ferrari and Haas insiders will know the true story

    2. It is strange, but I wouldn’t read too much into it. I do think Ferrari and haas definitely benefit from each other with such a relationship though.
      In terms of track performance, I think you have to say it is rather the likes of Williams and force India underperforming.

    3. NO, I feel this is perfect, HAAS worked the rules to perfection to have a competitive car. all the top teams push the rules to the limit for performance. WELL DONE to HAAS! they are doing it the only way possible to be competitive as a new team, and have done it well. they are the real deal as an F1 team!

      1. +1

        My thoughts exactly!

      2. That’s a Ferrari B, what do you expect?

      3. @kpcart
        They exploited the loopholes to get a Ferrari and rebrand it as their own. It has completely ruined the essence and meaning of being a constructor. Yes, they are an F1 team. but they sure as hell is not a constructor in my view.

  13. I think their performance has more to do with the owner/organization’s plan from the beginning. Not trying to take anything away from Grosjean. He is a stud. A lot of the past teams that have come in are billionaires that want a pet-project to look cool to his “ordinary” yacht and island buddies. Gene Haas is a racer. He has over a dozen years of owning and organizing race teams. Their leg up to other new teams has a lot to do with being knowledgeable about logistics of running a team, looking for the chemistry instead of the resume, and sticking to a plan without rushing into a situation to fail. I have enjoyed seeing them find success and for the most part overachieve to expectations. Maybe our expectations of what a new team can do is off from the underachievement of the new teams from the last decade.

    Full disclosure, I am wondering how they will perform after the spring fly-aways and the experienced teams bring planned upgrades. I hope they have some work in the pipeline to apply this year before 2017 car development takes over.

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