The Haas Formula 1 team has put “a lot of emphasis” on its pit stop practice to avoid a repeat of the issues it suffered in last season’s Australian Grand Prix.  

Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen looked set to finish inside the top five in the 2018 season-opener before a pair of botched pit stops forced both drivers into retirement. 

Team principal Günther Steiner revealed the American squad has been putting in a lot of work over the winter break to ensure it prevents encountering any more pit stop blunders at the start of the 2019 season. 

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"We obviously haven't forgotten last year's pitstops in Australia, which went wrong," Steiner explained.

"This year we've put a lot of emphasis on arriving there prepared. We brought a 2018 car to our car build in Italy so we could train every day and work on pitstops.

"We did the same in Barcelona, as the current car is not always available for pitstop practice when you test. Every day the whole crew practiced around 10 to 12 pitstops a day.”

Haas is looking to build on its fifth-place finish in the 2018 constructors’ championships and looked to be in strong shape throughout pre-season testing, despite facing a number of reliability setbacks. 

Grosjean played down concerns over reliability heading into the new campaign and said he is feeling confident about the team’s chances. 

“The most important thing was to get a good feeling in the car early on,” Grosjean added. “When you get that good feeling, you know the car is well born. 

“That’s important to start the season – to be able to start on a high. Reliability, we had a few issues, but we’ve been working well to sort them out. I believe we’re now ready to attack the first race in Australia. 

“Obviously, there’s always more and more you want to do, but then it’s becoming circuit-specific. Now it’s about getting the baseline setup in Melbourne and then fine tuning for Bahrain, China and so on.”

Asked to describe Haas’ VF-19 compared to its predecessor, the Frenchman replied: “It’s very sexy. It’s a beautiful car. It handles very well. The feeling in the car is better than it was last year. 

“I think the team has done a really good job on its understanding of the new front wing and getting ready for the season to start. I’m really looking forward to driving the car on different kinds of circuits.”

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