Haas F1 TeamRomain GrosjeanEsteban Gutierrez

2015 Constructors' Standings - N/A

Whilst bold predictions of points from the off are probably wide of the mark, there is clearly plenty of promise with the new Haas team. A top ten finish is seemingly on the cards for 2016, though patience may need to be a virtue for the moment

It's been a long (occasionally controversial) build up to this point, but the first all-new team to enter F1 since 2010 is preparing to turn its first competitive wheel with some eventually lofty - if currently wobbly - expectations spurring it on.

On paper, Haas is an enticing proposition to come in at a decent level. An experienced motorsport entity with decent budget, a close technical partnership with Ferrari and well planned lengthy lead-in time, everyone can confidently assume this effort won't wind up like HRT and Caterham (we'll give Manor a free pass).

In fact, you have to go back to 2002 for the last time an all-new team scored on its debut - Mika Salo in a Toyota, if you're wondering -, but while some predictions had Haas firmly in the mid-field initially, things have been scaled back after a topsy-turvy pre-season test.

On the one hand, Haas turning up with the tidy looking VF16 and being in the ballpark straight away was mightily impressive. Early days of testing show few conclusions, but there was evidently a turn of pace and obviously much more to come. Unfortunately, reliability proved the Achilles Heel on the second week, so Haas head into the opening round rather under-prepared in terms of performance and longevity.

In reality, the fact no-one expects them to be hanging off the back - though it is likely to be propping up the grid initially - after just 8 days of disrupted testing is still an achievement and the acorns of growth are yielding shoots already.

On the driver front, Haas realises it has pulled quite a coup in luring Romain Grosjean to its team. A somewhat downbeat demeanour on the second week seemed symptomatic of a driver seemingly gazing up at the large mountain he fears he will have to climb before yielding results, but Grosjean - whilst being honest - has the work ethic to teach and spur Haas on. If the team is scoring points on occasion by the end of the season, it will almost certainly be in part due to the Frenchman's efforts.

On the other side of the garage, Esteban Gutierrez is getting a rather fortunate 'third time lucky' shot at F1 after two fruitless years at Sauber. Money, Ferrari ties and a door into a flourishing Mexican market goes some way to explaining his presence, but there seems genuine belief that Gutierrez just needs the tools to flourish in F1... With Grosjean in the other corner though, Gutierrez has more than just a developing car to challenge him this year.

 

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