Banbury’s Haas F1 Team heads to this weekend’s Chinese Grand at Shanghai International Circuit seeking balance.
After both its drivers failed to finish the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, the yang of a double DNF in the first round of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship needs to be offset with the yin of a points-paying performance in Shanghai.
If you’ve got speed, you can get reliability, not to have speed would be much more difficult to fix than the reliabilityTeam boss Guenther Steiner
Drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen are emphatic such a result is possible. Their disappointment in Australia was neutralised by the speed and potential of the Haas VF-17.
The second-generation race car built by Haas F1 was quick enough to be at the top of the midfield behind only the sport’s giants Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.
Proof was Grosjean’s sixth-place qualifying effort, which placed him ahead of Williams, Toro Rosso, Force India, Renault, McLaren and Sauber.
Team boss Guenther Steiner said: “We are cautiously optimistic. We need to still prove that our performance wasn’t a one-off.
“It’s very tight in the midfield. On a good day, you could be on top but on a bad day, you could be at the back.
“The other midfield teams have shown that this can happen. I think we surprised a little bit with our performance, especially Romain qualifying sixth with his lap, which was four-tenths faster than Felipe Massa’s.
“If you’ve got speed, you can get reliability, not to have speed would be much more difficult to fix than the reliability.”
Grosjean said: “It’s always good to have a fast car, one that’s maybe not 100 per cent reliable, over a slow car that is reliable.
“I wouldn’t have much fun finishing the Grand Prix in 15th but if I’m always fighting in the top ten and having some good results, sometimes having an issue at the beginning of the year is not a huge deal.
“We’ve got the performance, which is what we want. If the car is fast, we can aim for some good points and the reliability is something we know we can fix.”
Magnussen added: “There’s obviously no guarantee it’s going to be as competitive again. We need to work hard to get the most out of it.
“The car was there, it was performing, I didn’t get enough track time and there were too many issues with reliability.”