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Haas F1 Picks Up Pace In Barcelona

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, March 10 2017

The Haas F1 team moved into the top five in testing in Barcelona. (Photo courtesy of Haas F1)

Kevin Magnussen posted his quickest time of preseason testing and raised the Haas F1 Team single-session laps-completed record during Thursday’s outing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Magnussen racked up 119 laps/344.205 miles/553.945 kilometers around the 2.892-mile/4.655-kilometer/16-turn layout in Spain during his final preseason test in the No. 20 Haas VF-17.  Magnussen re-set the team’s single-day lap tally, besting his own 118-lap mark set on Feb. 28 during the first week of testing and equaled by teammate Romain Grosjean on March 2.

Magnussen’s best lap of the day also was his quickest of the entire two-week test schedule _ a 1-minute, 20.504-second run on his 62nd lap utilizing Pirelli’s P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire. The time placed Magnussen fifth among 13 drivers participating Thursday. Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, the four-time World Driving Champion from Germany, set the quickest time (1:19.024-seconds) and ran the most laps (156).

Haas F1 lead driver Grosjean will return in his No. 8 VF-17 for the final day of testing Friday. The 30-year-old Frenchman compiled 96 laps/277.678 miles/446.88 kilometers on Wednesday during a session which included an afternoon of experimenting with the full range of Pirelli’s tire compounds.

But in the penultimate day of on-track running for the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship, Magnussen brought his testing total to 369 laps/1,067.326 miles/1,717.695 kilometers.

“Another good day. I’m really happy with testing in general,” said Magnussen, a newcomer to American industrialist Gene Haas’ second-year team. “I think we’ve learned a huge amount about the car. We know where we need to work between here and Australia. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car for the race in a couple of weeks.”

Round 1 of the World Championship is the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 26. Practice begins March 24 with qualifying on March 25

Haas F1’s morning plan consisted of a series of early reconnaissance laps followed by ongoing setup work. Magnussen ran on the Pirelli White medium tire for his installation lap and first three timed stints to log 22 laps. A change to the Yellow soft tire brought increased track performance, elevated further when the 24-year-old Dane switched to the Red supersoft tire 30 minutes prior to the mandatory lunch break. Magnussen’s best time of the morning was on Pirelli’s supersofts  _ a 1:20.863-second effort on his 39th lap.

Following a brief outing on a set of used softs to begin the afternoon, Magnussen switched to the Purple ultrasofts for two timed stints. Lapping with the grippiest tire in Pirelli’s lineup, Magnussen delivered his quickest lap. The latter part of the day was spent in race simulation, with Magnussen securing a mileage total just short of a race distance. He ran twice on Yellow softs for a combined 35 laps before a 15-lap outing on White mediums that concluded the day’s activities.

”A pretty good day. We got almost a race distance in,” Team Principal Guenther Steiner said. “We ran just a few laps short, something like 20 laps short of a full distance this afternoon. We got a lot of information. We ran to a quite tough program, but it was good. We are very happy with the day and how it went, and how to get the best out of the data. There’s just one more day to go and then we’ll get ready for Australia.”

As was the case during its inaugural 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 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 Friday, March 10 2017
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