The Roar
The Roar


Haas pace set to reignite customer car debate

Are Romain Grosjean's outbursts genuine or exaggerated? (via Haas F1)
Roar Guru
25th March, 2018

Following a second season which was by no means a failure, if not slightly underwhelming, Haas proved that its pre-season form was no act as it confirmed its credentials as best of the rest in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

If only the results were indicative…

That a calamitous botched pitstop induced double retirement cruelled its charge after its drivers were running in fourth and fifth place is an unfortunate postscript, though they shouldn’t be deterred from the hugely encouraging signs.

Aided by casualties and penalties to Mercedes and Red Bull, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were fortuitous to line up on the third row of the grid, though their pace prior to the enforced exits indicate an early superiority to Renault, McLaren and Force India.

Magnussen was effusive in his praise, remarking that he was “incredibly proud of the team for the job they’ve done over the winter.” With so little resources and people and budget, it’s an amazing job”, having displayed strong speed through testing at Barcelona. The Dane cautioned that “we need to keep it consistent and make sure we can get the performance… at every race.”

Considering Haas’ close technical affiliation with Ferrari, it will be fascinating to see whether the customer car debate is reignited pending its fortunes in coming races, with many having noted its strong chassis similarities since entering Formula One in 2016.

Fernando Alonso admitted his frustration at being outpaced on Saturday, the Spaniard claiming that Haas “have obviously a Ferrari replica of last year.” The reality is that many teams have adopted Ferrari’s design philosophy this season, though none more so than the Charlotte based outfit.

Grosjean cited that “it’s the same thing every time we’re fast”, the Frenchman adding that “it’s not true and it’s not nice for the people that work at Haas”, emphasising the need to “keep pushing”, rather than being content with its progress.

This is a shame, as the team has bucked the trend of new entrants making up the numbers, and it possesses two of the most underrated drivers on the grid, yet results will remain conspicuous in their prominence as long as the association remains.


Aside from provoking the argument over gaining an unfair advantage, there will come a time when Haas must stand on its own two feet and assume greater autonomy, with a logical start date occurring in 2021 in tandem with the sport’s next set of regulations.

There’s a case for the team to seek out a works partnership with a manufacturer which could be enticed to enter at that time if the regulations are attractive, and collaboration with an identity such as Ford, forming an all-American combination, would make sense on many levels.

The operation will have had five seasons to consolidate its base by this date, more than enough experience to take its output to the next level if it is serious about contending for victories and championships in the long-term.

In the meantime, while Melbourne represented a missed opportunity, a little more polish has the ability to see Haas lay claim to fourth in the constructors’ standings, and with it, the inevitable politicking, but that’s something that can be dealt with when it comes to pass.