Gene Haas says he is encouraged by the VF-16 following the first two days of F1 2016 pre-season testing.
The Haas F1 Team will make its debut in the sport this year, and while a front-wing failure limited Romain Grosjean to 31 laps on Monday, on Tuesday there were no real issues with Esteban Gutierrez clocking up over 70 tours.
“It has a great engine and transmission, the chassis is good,” Haas remarked when asked what he thinks of the VF-16. “The only thing that hasn't really been exercised yet is the crew so that is what we are doing this week, getting the crew to understand how the car goes together, all these various parts. They have to change the engine out half a dozen times, so that is a good learning experience.
“The car's characteristics are very neutral, it has good aero, balanced at both ends, it is very neutral going through the turns, it doesn't snap or do anything strange. So far it looks good. We have to work faster to find out where the limits of the car is though.”
Haas also explained how they strengthened the front wing for the second day of the test.
“The problem from yesterday is that the wing has a fair amount of downforce, it pulled out the attachment structure on the nose, which is some aluminium that the carbon fibre is integrated with. So the process of putting the parts in auto-play, the theory is the aluminium heats up and then when it cools, it pulled away a bit from the carbon fibre so there was some weakness there,” he continued. “With the downforce and the vibrations, the bond wasn't proper, so the aluminium pulled out from the nose which then let the wing go under the car, so it just went into many little pieces.
“What they did was take the two down struts where the aluminium is and they puts some straps around them and put some screws perpendicular to the axis so now instead of having screws being pulled down, they are now perpendicular, that are under shear. That is the fix right now. Eventually they will have to come up with some other way to bond the aluminium to the carbon fibre.”
Meanwhile, Haas reiterated that the big challenge now for the team at this stage is to ensure everything gels.
“We know the aero is good, the chassis is good, we have the best engine and transmission package out there, so now it comes down to the team, we have to put the team together that can execute if you do have bad days and you need to do whatever to get back on track. That is where the team comes in, the way they work together and making the sure the car is reliable, that is going to be their job. We have all the right components and now we just have to execute it. Kind of like a football team, we need to make the passes and the touchdowns,” he concluded.