The Haas F1 Team's decision to hire two experienced drivers rather than looking for someone to help boost its coffers has paid off in other ways according to team principal Gunther Steiner.
Despite coming into the top flight in ruder health than some of its predecessors, Hass has surprised - and irritated - its rivals by taking merited points finishes in each of its first two races, with Romain Grosjean claiming sixth and fifth places, respectively, in Australia and Bahrain. According to Steiner, the decision to pursue Grosjean now looks like a wise one, despite the obvious attraction of hiring a 'pay driver' who could have brought additional funds to the rookie programme.
"I think he has paid for himself already!" Steiner smiled after Sakhir, "We needed a known quantity. If we had someone else, a pay driver, maybe we would not be where we are. We would question ourselves, is the material good enough? Is the car good enough? We know now because he pulled it off. We know now where we are. For sure, that is what you want to achieve with getting a driver of his calibre."
Although the Frenchman benefited from the red flag triggered, ironically, by the collision between team-mate Esteban Gutierrez and McLaren's Fernando Alonso in Australia, allowing him to make a single tyre change under controlled conditions, the decision to keep him running on supersofts for much of the Bahrain Grand Prix hinted at an aggressive nature that Steiner says the team would continue to consider.
"Every race is different, [so] it will change every race," he admitted, "If it's worthwhile to go aggressive and you have a good pace like [Bahrain] where it fell into our own hands when we qualified ninth, then for sure, if you have these kind of tyres, you go aggressive.
"We knew you had to do three stops and I think our car is pretty good with the tyres. We could use the supersofts for quite a long time."
The same range of Pirelli rubber - medium, soft and supersoft - will continue to be available to the teams at next weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.