Kevin Magnussen says he expects Haas to “stay on the rise” and continue to make improvements in the 2019 Formula 1 season. 

The American squad sealed its best-ever result in F1 last year by claiming fifth place in the constructors’ championship, finishing behind only Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault as it continued its year-on-year improvements. 

A number of key mistakes cost Haas a potential fourth place, though the team is confident it is in better shape heading into the new campaign, having secured fresh backing from new title sponsors Rich Energy. 

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“If you look at our trajectory since the beginning of the team it’s just been forward,” Magnussen said. 

“Last year we took a big step from 2017 to 2018. I don’t think we can expect to take as big a step again but we can expect to keep improving and stay on the rise. 

“I really don’t expect us to take a step back, I think we’re going to continue to grow. But we need to improve, and we need to grow even to hold onto fifth. 

“Probably this year the improvements and the step forward will be less visible most likely, but I can see how we are growing as a team and we are gaining more and more experience. 

“We’re learning with that experience that we’re gaining also to make use of that experience. I’m positive.”

Teammate Romain Grosjean echoed Magnussen’s comments and believes Haas can target fourth place in 2019 after missing out by less than 30 points last season. 

“I think you always want to do better and last year was a big step for us from the first two years,” he explained. 

“But we weren’t miles away from fourth so I believe that we want to be better and therefore fourth is the next target. 

“We can talk about even being world champions but first we need to see how the car is going and then really decide where we can go. 

“Last few years the car has been good at the beginning and we have improved the team since day one.

“I’m very proud of the work we have been doing and the growth of the team. It’s been a big journey and I don’t think it’s over yet.”