Haas F1 team principal Gunther Steiner is optimistic that the US-based squad can cause an upset on its grand prix debut later this month - provided it keeps on top of the gremlins that infiltrated the last few days of pre-season testing.
Haas' preparations were somewhat turned on their head in the second group test at the Circuit de Catalunya, with the final four days more problematic than the first quartet a week ago. A brake-by-wire issue on the penultimate day was the latest headache to overcome, and affected the make-up of the final sessions, but Steiner is confident that the engineers are on top of that problem - and showing themselves to be quite adept at tackling others that crop up.
"We had a good [final] day and came out, again, with our heads up," the Italian insisted, "The last three days were pretty difficult, but today was a good day. Even yesterday was a good day - we learned a lot and analysed a problem and the guys fixed it overnight. We came out this morning and could go running again, and we know now that, in Australia, this problem will not come up.
"Yes, we had a few challenging days, but that was to be expected with a new team. Two weeks ago, we were not even a team, so the guys did a fantastic job and worked very hard. I'm proud of them."
With confidence restored in the VF-16 after both the braking issue - which saw the car go off twice on day three - turbo woes and the front wing failure which marred the opening test, Steiner sees no reason not to have at least a smidgen of optimism heading into round one at Albert Park.
"[We're] as ready as you can be!" he smiled, "I don't know what is waiting behind the corner [sic
] and, yes, I think we would have liked to run more on Monday and Tuesday, but we couldn't and you can never make [the time] up. We did the best that we could the last two days and I think we are as ready as we could get in the moment.
"I think, as we've always said, we will be in the lower midfield. If we are reliable in Australia, maybe we can surprise. It's a tough three days in Australia but we are confident we can go home with our heads up."