Gene Haas says Romain Grosjean's sixth place finish in his eponymous team's very first F1 race is validation for the 'risk' to commit to a 'start-up' in a sport that has traditionally seen such outfits struggle to succeed.
Aided by a superb strategy call under the red flag – which essentially meant the team got its single pit-stop for free during the stoppage -, Grosjean surged from 19th on the grid to sixth position at the chequered flag, much to the delight of not only the team, but fans and rivals alike.
The first all-new F1 team to score on its debut since Toyota also finished sixth – albeit in a race of just eight finishers – in the 2002 Australian Grand Prix, you have to go back to the 1993 South African Grand Prix and Sauber's fifth place for such an equally impressive debut.
Describing the result as a 'win', team founder Haas says it goes a long way to justifying the commitment made by those who joined the team considering the failures of previous new teams in F1, not least Grosjean who quit Lotus before it morphed back into the factory Renault team.
“Well for us it's a win. I feel like this is probably better than a win because it kind of validates everything that we've worked on for five years to get to this point.
“It's also a real morale booster for all the guys working here, it validates that when they signed on to work for Haas F1 that they made the right choice. Especially for Grosjean.
“He took a big risk when he decided to leave Lotus and come here and in retrospect it's almost crazy to want to sign up for a team that doesn't exist but he did it and he drove his heart out and for us it feels better than a win.”