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America’s Haas F1 Team Takes To The Track

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, February 22 2016
The new Haas F1 Team car took historic first laps during a test session in Spain. (Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic)

The new Haas F1 Team car took historic first laps during a test session in Spain.
(Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic)

By John Sturbin/Senior Writer
Racing Today.com

Haas F1 Team recorded its historic first laps “in anger” Monday during preseason testing at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya, Spain, where Romain Grosjean logged a total of 31 laps in the VF-16 after the team dealt with its first parts failure.

formula1logoAfter a physical unveil of the No. 8 VF-16 at 7:50 a.m. (CET), the team’s first official test began at 10 a.m. with Grosjean at the wheel. The Ferrari 061 turbo V-6 ran flawlessly, providing a valuable reconnaissance lap to check the car’s systems. Grosjean completed 12 laps prior to the lunch break, with the Frenchman recording his fastest lap of the day around the 2.89-mile/4.655-kilometer/16-turn circuit in 1 minute, 28.399-seconds.

However, a front wing failure cut the session short. After analyzing the problem, a new wing was reengineered for the afternoon. The team’s quick work allowed Grosjean to make three five-lap runs, the last with 24 minutes remaining in the session. When the track went cold at 6 p.m., Grosjean was credited with 31 laps/89.7-miles/144.305-kilometers, all on Pirelli’s P Zero White medium tires.

“It was a pretty exciting day,” said Grosjean, formerly of Lotus F1 Team. “The morning went very well until we had a small front wing failure. It compromised our afternoon a little, but it was good that we could put some laps on the car later. We don’t have any big problems. I’m very happy with the first day. It’s been a really good start for the team. It’s been a positive day. Of course, you always want more and more, but I think the most important thing is that I’m happy with the car. The first impression is really good. The car balance is there straight-away.”

The opening test session of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship was led by Germany’s Sebastian Vettel, the four-time World Driving Champion from Scuderia Ferrari, with a quick lap of 1:24.939-seconds. Lewis Hamilton, the three-time/reigning world champion from Great Britain, logged the most laps at 156 in his Mercedes.

“We had a good start to the day and then we had a problem with the front wing,” said Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 team principal. “Obviously, we had to stop and evaluate the problem and find a solution. We found an interim solution, but we will have to find a solution by tomorrow morning. We got out running again and got a lot of data. It would have been nice to run more, but we still got some laps under our belt and we look forward to tomorrow.”

Teammate Esteban Gutiérrez of Mexico is scheduled to take the wheel of the VF-16 Tuesday. Testing at Barcelona runs through Thursday, with Grosjean back in the car on Wednesday and Gutiérrez in on Thursday. After a four-day break, teams return to Barcelona for a second and final round of preseason testing March 1-4. Gutiérrez will drive March 1-2 and Grosjean finishes up the test March 3-4. The season-opening Australian Grand Prix is set for March 20 in Melbourne, Australia.

Origin of the “VF-16” designation refers to the first CNC machine manufactured by Haas Automation, the VF-1, launched in 1988. The “V” stands for vertical, an industry standard designation for a vertical mill. Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, added “F1” to the name to unofficially designate it as the company’s “Very First One.”

As chairman of Haas F1 Team, the “F1” moniker of that first machine takes on added significance as Haas joins the 2016 F1 World Championship, becoming the first American-led team in 30 years. The F1 organization is based on the same Kannapolis, N.C., campus as Stewart-Haas Racing, multiple champions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, February 22 2016
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