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F1 Belgian GP: Haas: Drivers’ experience key at Spa

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner says his squad is hoping to rely on its drivers' experience at Spa-Francorchamps to maximise its performance
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner says his squad is hoping to rely on its drivers' experience at Spa-Francorchamps to maximise its performance with the challenges the Belgian track poses on tyres and fuel consumption.

The newest team in the F1 ranks has adapted to the championship impressively and, arguably, has overachieved at times thanks to Romain Grosjean's back-to-back points finishes in the opening two races of 2016.

As the running order has settled over the bulk of the year Haas has been in the thick of the competitive midfield battle and currently sits eighth in the F1 world constructors' championship, ahead of Renault and just behind McLaren.

Despite this, Haas is effectively still making its debut at each race having never competed at the circuits on the F1 calendar and after the summer break Spa will act as another tricky trial.

However, Steiner feels Haas can restart the campaign with optimism and is confident his driver line-up can ensure the team produce a strong set-up for its VF-16. Last year Romain Grosjean drove a masterclass to go from ninth on the grid to take third place behind the dominant Mercedes duo.

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Steiner feels race strategy, with emphasis on tyre and fuel management, will be heavily reliant upon useful feedback from both Grosjean and his team-mate Esteban Gutierrez and is relishing the challenge of the iconic F1 track.

“You can prepare for the race by getting the team's times down for when you need to change the tyres,” Steiner said. “Otherwise, I think the driver's experience comes into play here – what to do and when to do it. It all comes down to the driver and what they want to do next.

“Fuel management is about the same, and it's very important because the car needs the right time to lift off. Now with the radio communication, it is helpful because the engineer can give advice rather than in the past when the driver would ask and the engineer could not answer.”

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(L to R): Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team and team mate Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team. 22.02.2016.
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