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Haas F1 Team Spirits Are High After Trip To Bahrain

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 20 2017

Kevin Magnussen of Haas F1 heads up pit lane during testing this week at the Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Glenn Dunbar/LAT Images)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Haas F1 Team capped a productive, point-paying drive by Romain Grosjean in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix with completion of a two-day open test at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

Kevin Magnussen took the wheel of the Ferrari-powered VF-17 for the second and final day of testing Wednesday, one-upping his teammate by logging 88 laps around the 3.363-mile/5.412-kilometer/15-turn circuit. Grosjean, who finished eighth after starting Sunday’s 57-lap event ninth, recorded 87 laps on Tuesday.

We completed most of our program, which is great,” said Grosjean, whose best lap Tuesday in the No. 8 VF-17 was timed in 1-minute, 32.452-seconds. “There’s a lot of data now to look back through at the factory. That’ll help us know what we want to do in the future. It’s testing, we’re not looking for performance, but I’m happy with the day.”

Grosjean’s eighth-place finish Sunday was the Frenchman’s fifth top-10 result in six career Formula One starts at Bahrain. Grosjean finished fifth in last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix for what remains Haas F1’s best result in 24 races.

Three rounds into the 20-race FIA Formula One World Championship schedule, Haas F1 Team remains seventh in the constructor standings with eight points, four behind sixth-place Toro Rosso and six ahead of eighth-place Renault. Grosjean and Magnussen are tied for 10th in the driver standings with four points apiece.

 Magnussen’s best time Wednesday was 1:32.120-seconds set on his 70th lap while utilizing the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tire. The time placed Magnussen fifth among 12 drivers participating.

“We got some good laps in, some good testing today,” said Magnussen, driver of the No. 20 VF-17. “There should be some interesting stuff for the coming races. Some of the work we did today was a bit of a carryover from yesterday with Romain, but we did some new stuff as well, which was good. All in all, it’s been a productive day.”

Magnussen started Sunday’s race 20th and moved up to 15th before an electronics issue cut his car’s power supply after eight laps, resulting in a 19th-place finish. Magnussen, a native of Denmark, finished eighth the week before in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Haas F1’s second day of testing mirrored its first, with the morning run program consisting of early reconnaissance laps followed by ongoing setup work. Magnussen ran on the White medium tire for three installation laps followed by 10 tours on a used set of Yellow softs. He then ran four stints totaling 24 laps, with each run beginning on a new set of Yellow softs. By the time the morning session ended, Magnussen had knocked out 37 laps with a best time of 1:33.192-second set during his 21st lap while riding on Yellow softs.

The multiple sets of Yellow soft tires from the morning saw action again in the afternoon. The recycled rubber was used for three timed stints before a new set of Yellow softs was mounted for a fourth run. With 90 minutes remaining, Magnussen switched to the faster/grippier Red supersoft tires. Four stints totaling 20 laps, each on a new set of supersofts, were completed to conclude the Bahrain test.

Quickest on the final day of testing was Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Valtteri Bottas, who scored his first F1 pole Saturday at Bahrain, with a lap in 1:31.280-seconds. The native of Finland also claimed the most laps, totaling 143 tours around the desert track.

Grosjean’s quick time of 1:32.452-seconds Tuesday was posted on his 71st tour on Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires. That lap placed him fourth among 12 drivers who participated.

Grosjean began the morning session with stock reconnaissance runs, heading out first on the White medium tire for an installation lap before switching to Yellow softs for five timed runs totaling 39 laps. Prior to stopping for a lunch break shortly after 1 p.m. local time, Grosjean’s best mark was a 1:33.848-seconds on his 19th lap.

Grosjean ran 48 laps in the afternoon with a program consisting of four timed stints that recycled the morning’s soft compound tires before switching to the faster/grippier Red supersoft tires. With supersofts bolted onto the Haas VF-17, Grosjean closed out the day. He ran three stints with a new set of supersofts each time before culminating with a final, seven-lap outing on a used set of supersofts.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, a three-time World Driving Champion, set the quickest time at 1:31.358-seconds, with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson recording the most laps at 106.

With testing in Bahrain complete, the focus turns to Round 4 of the 2017 championship _ the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom. Practice begins April 28 with qualifying on April 29 and the race running on April 30.

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.

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 businessman Gene 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, April 20 2017
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