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Haas Wraps Up First Test Session

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, February 25 2016
Esteban Gutierrez took his Haas F1 Team car on a mock race run on Friday. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images for Haas)

Esteban Gutierrez took his Haas F1 Team car on a mock race run on Thursday. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images for Haas)

Haas F1 Team completed its historic, four-day preseason testing debut Thursday with Esteban Gutierrez running a race simulation and live pit stop practices at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya in Spain.

Gutierrez completed 89 laps/257.21-miles/414.29-kilometers in his No. 21 VF-16 and its Ferrari 061 turbo V-6 powerplant. The American-based team, which made its testing debut Monday, ran its first race simulation of the week at the beginning of the afternoon session, including its first live pit stop practices. Gutiérrez recorded his fastest lap of the day _ at 1 minute, 27.802-seconds _ during the simulation period on the Pirelli P Zero White medium tire compound.

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

“In general, the first test was a fantastic four days for us,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team. “We got a lot of running in, which we didn’t expect because we are a new team. We are only four days old.”

Gutiérrez’s 89 laps-completed marked the team’s highest total around the 2.89-mile/4.655-kilometer/16-turn layout. Recording 26 of those laps during his morning outing on the Pirelli P Zero White medium tire, Gutiérrez’s fastest lap before the midday break was a 1:29.088-seconds.

An ECU issue ended the remainder of the day’s planned track schedule. The 89 laps Thursday brought Haas F1 Team’s laps-completed total for the week to 281. Frenchman Romain Grosjean logged 31 laps in the No. 8 VF-16’s testing debut Monday, while Gutiérrez ran 79 laps Tuesday. Grosjean returned to his car Wednesday to record 82 laps.

“We had a productive day considering our circumstances,” said Gutierrez, a native of Mexico. ”We completed a fairly good amount of laps which was the main program for today. Obviously we had some small issues in the morning and in the afternoon which interrupted the plan but it was all meant to be solved and find out the reliability issues we can have in the car. This is why I think it was good, not ideal, because obviously the ideal would be to complete the whole program. But the team did a very good job.

“The guys have been working very hard to put the car on-track and we managed to do a fairly good amount of consecutive laps, which will give us a lot of data to analyze and prepare for next week.”

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.

“We had a productive day,” Steiner said. “In the morning we had a small problem which we sorted pretty quickly due to the team working well together. In the afternoon after a long run we went into pit-stop practice. We had a problem with our ECU and we stopped testing for the day but it looks promising. We look forward to coming back testing next week.”

Haas F1 Team is based on the same Kannapolis, N.C., campus as Stewart-Haas Racing, multiple champions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 World Driving Champion, set Thursday’s quickest time at 1:23.477-seconds for Scuderia Ferrari. Kevin Magnussen of Denmark logged the most laps Thursday at 153 in his Renault.

Grosjean, formerly of Lotus F1 Team, recorded his fastest lap Monday in 1:28.399-seconds. His 31 laps 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. Grosjean’s best lap Wednesday of 1:25.874-seconds also was run on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire, and was second-quickest of a session topped by German Nico Hulkenberg’s 1:23.110-second effort for Force India.

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.


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, February 25 2016
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