In 2010, Formula One fans were excited by the introduction of three new teams to Formula One. Lotus GP (later Caterham), Virgin Racing (later Marussia and now Manor) and HRT joined the fold, but struggled to have any impact on the order, the teams consistently qualifying close to the 107% time and finishing the races a few laps off the pace.
When Haas were announced as a new entry, it was expected before testing that the team would suffer the same fate, unable to get a firm grasp in the Championship. But the year delay on their entry to the sport and a strong technical partnership with Ferrari has resulted in one of the best debut seasons in the modern era (barring Brawn GP of course…)
The opening two races of the season saw Grosjean hit the grid flying, with a 6th in Australia followed up with a season high 5th-place finish in Bahrain. Haas never enjoyed the heights of their opening two races again, but registered eight frustrating yet promising 11th place finishes thereafter and have firmly established their presence in Formula One as a competent midfield team. After the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, team principal Guenther Steiner reflected on Haas’ first season.
“We had a competitive car and we finished the year on a high even if we didn’t get in the points. I felt we had one of our best races with both drivers just out of the points. That is a nice way to finish our first season.
I’ll take this moment to say thank you to everybody, especially thanks to Gene for giving us this opportunity. Thanks to all the team who work so hard and thanks to both Romain and Esteban for their work all year long. Now we get ready for next year.”
– Guenther Steiner
Haas finished their 2016 campaign with 8th in the Constructors, Grosjean’s early points crucial to them beating Renault, Sauber and Manor. There is no reason to believe that 2017 won’t see them get closer to the points more often and challenge the teams just up the road.