American outfit Haas enjoyed its best season to-date in 2018, moving up in F1’s constructors’ standings for the first time in its history – three places to fifth – and almost doubling its points balance to a total of 93.
It’s been an impressive run from the minnow US-squad, which joined F1 in 2016 and broke the mould for new teams in the sport.
… partnering with Ferrari to the maximum extent allowed under the rules.
But, 2018 is still seen as something of a disappointment from the fact that it could have finished fourth, ahead of Renault, if not for a set of mistakes, according to team principal Guenther Steiner.
“I think it was our own fault that we didn’t finish fourth,” Steiner said. “But, it’s our own fault because it’s also part of the learning we are in as a team.”
Those mistakes, by one of the smallest workforces in the pit lane, include botching both stops in Australia, forcing both of its cars to retire from fifth and sixth with loose wheels…
… while Romain Grosjean crashed out from the Azerbaijan, Spanish and British events – in a crisis of confidence he recovered from to secure his drive for 2019. Kevin Magnussen, a far more consistent racer.
Across 21 events, Magnussen was just edged in qualifying, going 10-11. And 7-7 in races, when they could be compared. But he scored 19 more points than Grosjean, and on 11 separate occasions.
All of which were helped by its best car to date, the VF18, one that Haas knew could be consistently competitive.
AUDIO QUOTE (English) KEVIN MAGNUSSEN,
F1 DRIVER, HAAS:
“Generally it’s been pretty good in most kind of tracks, so especially towards the end of the first half we showed that we could be good at both high speed and low speed.”
2019 promises more of the same, with both drivers retained – and if it can minimise its mistakes, it could not only be a force to be reckoned with but a real headache for Renault.