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Haas’ Grosjean Second Fastest Wednesday In Spain

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, February 24 2016
Grosjean nearly topped the charts on Wednesday. (Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic)

Romain Grosjean of America’s Haas F1 Team nearly topped the charts on Wednesday.
(Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
Racing Today.com

Romain Grosjean added to Haas F1 Team’s lap-count and data bank during the third day of preseason testing Wednesday at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya in Spain.

Grosjean logged 82 laps around the 2.89-mile/4.655-kilometer/16-turn circuit during his second stint in the No. 8 VF-16 and its Ferrari 061 turbo V-6 powerplant. The American-based team, which made its testing debut Monday, now has compiled a combined total of 192 laps. Frenchman Grosjean completed 31 laps Monday while teammate Esteban Gutiérrez of Mexico piloted the No. 21 car during 79 laps on Tuesday.

The team headed by chairman Gene Haas is the first American-based organization to compete in the FIA Formula One World Championship in 30 years.

Grosjean, formerly of Lotus F1 Team, indicated the Haas F1 crew continues to develop its testing protocol. “We did the most laps so far in this test, so that’s good. Generally, I’m very happy with the car, very positive. I like driving it,” said Grosjean, whose best lap of 1 minute, 25.874-seconds emerged as second-quickest of a session topped by German Nico Hulkenberg’s 1:23.110-second effort for Force India.

“The guys are doing a good job,” Grosjean said. “We found some setup improvements, so that’s very positive for everyone.” Grosjean recorded his fastest lap Monday in 1:28.399-seconds. His 31 laps/89.7-miles/144.305-kilometers that day all were run on Pirelli’s P Zero White medium tire.

Gutiérrez was the sixth-quickest driver Tuesday with a best time of 1:25.524-seconds recorded on his 70th lap, when the VF-16 was shod on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire.

Five minutes after the track went hot Wednesday, Grosjean wheeled out for an installation lap. Nine runs consisting of five laps or more followed, the longest a 12-lap stint at the end of the day. That’s when Grosjean netted his fastest lap on his 71st circuit. Grosjean ran the Pirelli P Zero White medium tire for most of the day, switching to the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire for his final, two multi-lap runs.

“The morning went without any problems,” said Grosjean, who completed 237.18-miles/381.71-kilometers. “It was a really good morning. After lunch, we had a software glitch that cost us two small runs, but once we sorted that we were able to do some more mileage. The idea is to see how far the parts can go and which ones will be the first to go, so we did a good job in that aspect.”

Carlos Sainz Jr. of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso completed a session-high 161 laps Wednesday. Native German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes logged the most laps Tuesday at 172. On Monday, three-time/reigning World Driving Champion Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain completed the most laps at 156 in his Mercedes.

Germany’s Sebastian Vettel, the four-time World Driving Champion from Scuderia Ferrari, paced the Monday and Tuesday sessions. Vettel topped Monday’s time sheet at 1:24.939-seconds and lowered that mark to 1:22.810-seconds on Tuesday.

“It was a very constructive day,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team.  “We are pretty happy on what we achieved. We are getting laps together and, for sure, experienced some little problems, but that’s why we’re here. The team seems to be gelling and we’re working hard. There’s a very good atmosphere in the team and we’re making progress.”

Gutiérrez is scheduled to be back behind the wheel of the VF-16 Thursday for final day of the first preseason test. After a four-day break, teams will return to Barcelona for a second and final round of testing March 1-4. Gutiérrez will drive March 1-2 and Grosjean will wrap-up testing March 3-4. The season-opening Australian Grand Prix is set for March 20 in Melbourne, Australia.

Haas F1 Team 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 Wednesday, February 24 2016
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