Congratulations to Haas F1


Gene Haas stunned the world — or at least the racing world — when his lead driver, Romain Grosjean, finished sixth in the team’s Formula One debut early this morning. If you hurry, you can still get to your local airport bookstore and pick up the issue of Road&Track where I interview Gene Haas and Gunther Steiner. I’m surprised at the magnitude of their maiden result but not at the team’s general fitness for purpose and professional performance.

If you’re too cheap to buy the magazine, the article should be up later this month — and given the limitless electrons of the Web as compared to the iron discipline of print space, I’m hoping that a few more of Jamey Price’s typically outstanding photographs will be included.

15 Replies to “Congratulations to Haas F1”

  1. Harry

    Easily the most exciting positive event of the new season, completely unexpected especially after qualifying( I think because the new format makes little sense)

    It still paled in comparison to the relief I felt when Alonso crawled out from underneath his car.

    I am not drawn to the bloodsport aspect of motor racing, and that stood out to me as one of the more horrific oh no I hope they are ok moments, along the the Irvine/Burti crash at Spa, Nick Heidfeil spearing Takuma Sato with his gearbox, and Kubica foot sticking out from the monocoque in Montreal as awful moments since i have been watching races live.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I heard something on social media before I watched the race on delay but I wasn’t prepared for the sheer horribleness of that impact.

      There was a time when it seemed the sun would never stop shining on Alonso. That time is long gone.

    • Pat

      Agreed… When the camera brought that hulk of a car on screen, my heart sank. I’ve pretty much stopped watching Indy car , at least ovals, I don’t want to end up doing same with F1

  2. tifoso

    It’s got to be a testament to modern F1 chassis that Kubica in Montreal, Villeneuve in Melbourne and now Alonso can have these crashes at triple digit speeds, become airborne, turn their cars into shrapnel and emerge relatively unscathed. That or they’re all really lucky

    • jz78817

      the differences in crash behavior between road cars and race cars are interesting. no real crumple zones in a race car; it’s more like they deflect away from whatever they hit while shedding parts and keeping the driver inside a rigid tub. as long as the driver’s neck is restrained and doesn’t get hit in the head with flying debris, the chance of survival is pretty good.

      it’ll be even better for drivers if/when they go to enclosed cockpits or at least a “halo” screen. Whether that whiner Hamilton likes it or not.

  3. galactagog

    wow, that is pretty amazing….Congratulations to the whole Haas team

    F1 has got to be one of the toughest sports to get into, as a new team. I was prepared for them to DNF and/or finish last for at least half of their first season….It must have been a supreme effort by all involved, I hope it continues

    I am glad Alonso is ok, that was a nasty crash

    –>I picked up Jackie Stewart’s autobiography over the weekend, looking forward to reading it.

  4. Ronnie Schreiber

    As someone pointed out, though it’s a notable accomplishment to earn points in your first F1 race, it’s hardly a harbinger of greater success. The now shuttered Toyota F1 team placed 6th in their first race too.

    FWIW, guys like Gene Haas are responsible for the U.S.A. continuing to be a leading manufacturing and exporting country. Of course, that’s little comfort to the folks who formerly might have made a decent living working in a semi-skilled factory. You probably need more than a high school diploma to work at Haas (at the very least some kind of certs in machining and metallurgy).

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      The Toyota finish was because half of the field was wiped out on the first lap.

      The only car to drop out ahead of Grosjean was Raikkonen.

  5. galactagog

    from the Haas F1 site:

    After starting the race on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow softs, the team took advantage of the red flag and changed Grosjean’s tires to the Pirelli P Zero White mediums. While the mediums did not have nearly as much grip as the softs, they also did not wear out as fast. When the race went back to green, Grosjean was good to go the distance without pitting. His strategy was to outlast and outrun as many of his counterparts as possible. He succeeded, with only five drivers finishing ahead of him, all of whom belonged to race teams with decades of experience. The sixth-place finish was worth eight points, placing Haas F1 Team fifth in the constructor standings.

    “Grosjean had a heck of a challenge there. They made the decision to go on the mediums for 39 laps, so that was really pushing it. He basically didn’t chew up his tires initially, so he was able to get 39 laps out of them. I think near the end he was starting to pick up time on the person behind him. Tire strategy, saving your tires, those are the kinds of things that make a driver a legend.

    “Grosjean just drove his heart out and did everything he could to keep it up there and it worked out. When (Nico) Hulkenberg was behind him I thought he might catch him, but he held him off and we actually started to make some time. He was saving fuel near the end, so I think once we got to the last few laps and we started to push a little harder, the car really responded.

    “This is racing. It’s what we do for a living and, you know, it’s cool. But I’ll tell you, there’ll be some bad days too, so we’ll enjoy this one.”

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I wonder if that was Gunther’s call. I was really, really fucking impressed by that dude when we met.

  6. galactagog

    well they clearly earned the 6th place based on strategy, rather than fluke!!

    I wonder if any other teams tried the same? I missed the race

    *but* speaking of fluke…I won the first round of our F1 pool, so I got the case of beer this year!!

    haha….after playing steward to your prize from last year, and having to stare at the damn thing…poetic justice has been served….chilled 😉

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Nobody deserves it more than you. I had to drop out of the pool because I couldn’t bring myself to click on Hamiltons stupid face.

  7. Sam

    “Tire strategy, saving your tires, those are the kinds of things that make a driver a legend.”‘

    Yeah, totally. Senna and Fangio and Gilles and Nuvolari and Mears and Bellof and Schumi and pre-old-man Raikkonen when he was on. Plus a hundred others. YouTube will vibrate for years with the footage of how all of them managed their consumables. It got us off the couches. We cheered, we sang, we loved to a single tune: LOOK HOW CONSERVATIVE AND WISE THAT DUDE IS BEING.

    On a related note, I just can’t get worked up about this team. Good for them, genuinely impressive. Not knocking the accomplishment, which is substantial. But they’re less American than my damn iPhone.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I note how careful you are to qualify Kimi. You know, he really got blown into the cheap seats by Vettel. Almost got his pants pulled down by young Max. If I were him I wouldn’t do any bragging about my driving 🙂

  8. galactagog

    “We cheered, we sang, we loved to a single tune: LOOK HOW CONSERVATIVE AND WISE THAT DUDE IS BEING.”

    haha, good point…it may not be exciting. But they got the job done

    huge props for:

    1. they finished their first race
    2. they got points in their first race


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