That first season in Formula 1 can be a doozy. The expectations, unknown expenses, unanticipated challenges—they all add up to what can be an overwhelming sense of failure but in the case of Haas F1, the team left 2016 with a skip in their step and an eye to the Sophomore year.
Mid-2016, Haas decided to turn their focus on the 2017 car and at the time, we commented that it was a good move as the team felt they had wrung just about all they could from the current chassis. The focus would be continuing the momentum of their non-listed parts racing program and to start making progress in the design elements of their car that they had learned in the first half of their Freshman year.
It would seem that this focus is paying dividends with Haas performing well in 2017 aside from a few issues and according to team boss, Gunther Steiner, that’s exactly how they planned it:
“Part of my job is to prepare not to get in a hole,” Steiner said.
“You can always end up in a hole but I had a terrible second season in one of my projects and I learned a lot out of it.
“Everybody was aware last year that we needed to be careful not to drop the ball.
“When last year we decided to switch over to develop the ’17 car, because it wasn’t going bad for us [at the time] it was like ‘why are you not bringing updates, haven’t you got any money?’
“No, no. We didn’t want to, because we’d just confuse ourselves.
“First of all we’d confuse ourselves in ’16 plus we’d fall behind in preparing for ’17.”
It’s a good move to be sure and as the team entered the summer break with one more point and one more position higher than this time last year, it seems they could be looking for a good result in the second half of the season.
The team have every expectation to finish strong in 2017 and one might wonder, when will they turn their focus to the 2018 car? Can they continue to develop their 2017 car with high expectations and will this have any impact on their 2018 challenger?
Gunther says the team are working better together and perhaps the grand equalizer of time is what will find the team aggressively focused on the 2017 development program as well as looking to 2018 in tandem. The coagulation of a team that has now learned to work together better and do more in the same amount of time—which is exactly what last year’s plan delivered in 2017.
Hat tip: Autosport