F1 returnee Esteban Gutierrez believes that the all-new Haas team can kick on when the grand prix circus reconvenes for its second and final pre-season test, back in Barcelona, next week.
The Mexican, who rejoins the fray after a season on the sidelines as part of Ferrari's development team, was able to complete a race distance as testing wrapped up at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday and reported that, despite a few expected teething troubles, the Haas outfit should feel very satisfied with the maiden outing of its VF-16.
"It was good - it was very nice to be back on a race distance, to be able to experiment with myself, experiment with the car, get a proper feeling and also to take the car to the limits because, obviously, this is the only way you can understand how far the car can go," Gutierrez explained.
"In terms of reliability, it was very useful for the whole team to have this amount of data and amount of laps. Ideally, we would do more but, from the position we found ourselves in at the beginning of the test, as a new team, this is what we could have expected. We found a lot of small issues - fortunately, not big issues which will take time - so I am confident that, for next week, we will be in good shape to explore the performance of the car."
With the team still coming together at its first test, there was human development going hand-in-hand with that of the VF-16, but Gutierrez insisted that the four days in Spain had been very useful for all involved in the ambitious project.
"I was mentally prepared to be very patient, but I think the team has done a very good job, reacting very quickly to every problem that we had," he noted, "It's not easy as a new group of people, and it's been very helpful for the team to get to know each other. I think it will now be important to sit down over the weekend and really co-ordinate ourselves, and really use this experience to get ready for next week and then to consolidate ourselves ready for Melbourne.
"I think we did a very good job. I am very proud of the whole team - and very grateful because it's very impressive to have put the car out and do a fair amount of laps. But it's a matter of time, and a matter of experience, to be more co-ordinated, to understand ourselves better, the levels of communication, everything... We will get there, but it is all about experience.
"I think we can expect to be more solid next week - we really need to if we are to take the next step - and I think we will naturally be after the experience of this week. We will try to explore more from the car, do more performance work and more on the set-up side once we have solved all the reliability issues."