Romain Grosjean believes Formula 1 would benefit from having more ambitious teams like Haas entering the sport.

The American squad joined the F1 grid ahead of the 2016 season and has enjoyed year-on-year improvements, finishing fifth in the 2018 constructors’ championship and behind only fellow midfield outfit Renault and the leading trio of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

“Haas is one of the things that make F1 great,” Grosjean wrote in a recent column for The Players’ Tribune.

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“The team is filled with determined goal-setters, out-of-the-box technical thinkers and yes, even crazy dreamers.

“I’m lucky to be a part of this team. F1 needs more teams like Haas.”

Grosjean also recalled the extent of the difficulties faced by Haas’ during its debut F1 weekend at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 2016.

“Our first grand prix in Australia in 2016 was chaotic,” Grosjean explained.

“We didn’t get a lot of laps in pre-season testing so we had barely any info on the car going into Melbourne. Then it rained on Friday, so no laps. We didn’t even know if the radio worked.

“On Saturday, we finally got out of the garage and someone hit us in the pit lane. We had to change the floor of the car and we missed even more time.

“Then qualifying was a disaster because F1 had implemented that new, ridiculous elimination-style quali that ended up getting removed a few weeks later.

“But then Sunday happened. And the race ended, and we were in sixth place. P6. In the points. Unbelievable. Truly amazing. 

“Beforehand, we thought we might be lucky to finish the race. Our telemetry failed during the grand prix. Our radio failed at times. Our car hadn’t even driven a full race distance leading up to that weekend.”

The Frenchman said Haas’ story shows that new F1 teams can enter the sport and enjoy success, despite the odds appearing to be stacked against them.

“When I look back on my career, I’ll think of that day right away. I love that story. I loved that weekend.

“That’s because, often, F1 can seem like a sport where the underdogs have so little chance. And I know as much as anyone that it can be like that.

"But when results like Australia 2016 happen, and you can see firsthand what a group of determined individuals can do … it makes you believe in yourself even more.

“Like I said on the radio in Australia, “winning” for each team can mean different things. The realities of F1 are clear: There are two or three teams that have the personnel and the budget to have a realistic chance at winning races consistently.

"That’s just the way it is. It’s not good, or bad, it’s just like that. It can make life in the middle a little tricky.

“But I know this: Gene Haas isn’t in F1 to finish in the middle. And that’s why I’m so excited about our future. I’m excited for this winter, for testing, to see the new car. Because I believe in us.

“And we know, at Haas, how tough the task is in the next few years if we want to be up there with the big dogs.”

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