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Haas F1 Has ‘Good Day’ In Testing

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 9 2017

Romain Grosjean took the wheel of the Haas F1 car during testing at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain on Wednesday. (Glenn Dunbar/LAT Images)

Haas F1 Team lead driver Romain Grosjean systematically worked through a variety of baseline setup configurations Wednesday when he returned to preseason testing for the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Grosjean compiled 96 laps/277.678 miles/446.88 kilometers in his No. 8 Haas VF-17 around the 2.892-mile/4.655-kilometer/16-turn layout in Spain during a session which included an afternoon of experimenting with the full range of Pirelli’s tire compounds.

Grosjean’s quickest time of 1 minute, 21.887-seconds was recorded on his 66th lap on set of Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tires. That time placed the 30-year-old Frenchman 10th among 14 drivers who took to the racetrack. Mercedes-AMG Petronas newcomer Valtteri Bottas of Finland topped the time sheet at 1:19.310-seconds, with Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and Belgium racking up a day-high 102 laps.

“It was a good day in the car,” said Grosjean, the first driver hired by American industrialist/team-owner Gene Haas. “We did most of the program we wanted to do. We’re still evaluating how the car is going and how we can improve the setup and find the weaknesses and strengths. Hopefully, before Melbourne we’ll have the time to make some small adjustments aerodynamically and mechanically to get there and be ready for a good performance. I’m very much looking forward to getting back in on Friday.”

New teammate Kevin Magnussen will return in the No. 20 VF-17 for Thursday’s session, with Grosjean scheduled to close-out the final test day on Friday. Magnussen kicked-off the second and final week of preseason testing Tuesday by turning a combined 81 laps/234.291 miles/377.055 kilometers, with the 24-year-old Dane’s best time of 1:21.676-seconds eighth-quickest among 13 drivers.

Round 1 of the FIA World Championship is the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne set for March 26. Practice will begin on March 24, with qualifying on March 25

Grosjean’s morning session mirrored the schedule Magnussen followed Tuesday _ a series of early laps on the White medium tire after an installation tour on the Orange hard option, followed by a switch to the Yellow soft compound to exploit its increased grip. Grosjean’s best time in the morning was 1:22.428-seconds, secured on his 36th lap. He tallied 54 laps before the mandatory lunch break.

Unfortunately, Haas F1 Team ceded 90 minutes of run time during the afternoon to fix an exhaust issue. The shortened plan meant valuable race simulation laps were condensed following double stints trialing the Red supersoft and Purple ultrasoft tires, the latter of which Grosjean used to secure his fastest lap. There were two red-flag stoppages in the closing minutes, denying Grosjean the opportunity to surpass 100 laps.

“We got good laps in today, over 90,” Team Principal Guenther Steiner said. “In the afternoon we had some handling problems, understeer mainly. We need to work on that to get it better. It seems like when it gets warmer it comes up. It’s just one of those things when you go testing you find these things and you find the solutions. We also had a small issue with the exhaust. Every small issue on these cars takes a long time to fix, so we lost 90 minutes in getting it fixed, but nothing particularly bad.”

As was the case last season, Haas F1 Team is a technical partner with Scuderia Ferrari, F1’s oldest and most glamorous organization. That arrangement with the factory in Maranello, Italy, includes the power unit, gearbox and mechanical components such as suspension and brake systems on the second generation VF-17.

Teams are continuing to gather data on Pirelli’s new/wider tires. Pirelli’s rubber is designed to augment the FIA’s 2017 technical regulations featuring a drastically different and advanced aerodynamic package designed to create a higher level of downforce. Tires are now 25 percent wider than they were in 2016, with the front tires increasing to 305 millimeters (12 inches) and the rear tires growing to 405 millimeters (15.9 inches).

Haas F1 Team debuted in the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2016, becoming the first American F1 team in the globetrotting series since 1986. Founded by Haas, Haas F1 Team is based on the same Kannapolis, N.C., campus as his championship-winning NASCAR organization, Stewart-Haas Racing. The chairman of Haas F1 Team, Haas also is the founder of Haas Automation, largest CNC machine tool-builder in North America. 


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 9 2017
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