The first American team to enter the global racing series in 30 years, Haas F1, unveiled its first Formula 1 car on February 21, 2016 via the Internet on social media and its website. The revealing of the VF-16 took place with a press release and photos on the team site as well as photos posted to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all at 9 a.m. ET.
Announcing that the car is ready for pre-season testing beginning on Monday, February 22 in Barcelona, Haas F1 explained the origins of the car’s name. “The origin of naming the car ‘VF-16’ goes back to the first CNC machine manufactured by Haas Automation, the VF-1, launched in 1988,” reads the press release. “The ‘V’ stands for vertical, which is an industry standard designation for a vertical mill. Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, added ‘F1’ to the name to unofficially designate it as the company’s ‘Very First One.'”
The gray and red livery colors come from Haas Automation, the sponsor of the team embodied by Gene Haas, team chairman and founder. About his new enterprise, Haas commented, “From an international standpoint, Formula One is the highest echelon of racing, and Haas Automation builds the highest-quality machine tools.”
“When you hear ‘F1’ you know exactly what it is – a global racing series that showcases the latest technology and attracts the best talent in engineering and design,” Haas continued. “Haas Automation has an excellent reputation in the United States and I want that reputation to grow worldwide. Connecting Haas Automation with F1 in name and in practice is the best way to grow our business and elevate Haas Automation to a premium, global brand.”
Team Principal, Guenther Steiner, commented, “Just as Haas Automation’s products continually evolve, becoming better and more efficient, our methodology behind the VF-16 was to make it the best evolution of a good F1 car. We’re a new team, so we looked at what the successful teams were doing to give us a baseline of the direction we needed to go with our design.”
Steiner explained the evolution of the car and the team’s relationship with Ferrari. “We have very experienced designers who worked hard to develop all the little things from an aerodynamic perspective that, collectively, add up to a lot. And our technical partner, Ferrari, provided our power unit, and that really defined the rear end of the car and how big it needed to be.”
What are the new team’s hopes for the first season? New teams in Formula 1 notoriously struggle against the older, more established teams.
“Our goal with this car is to score points,” Steiner said. “First, we need to go out there and show that we can do the job, that we can finish races, that we are respected by the fans and other teams in the paddock. Then, we want to score points. That is the ultimate goal.”
The VF-16 is expected to test at Barcelona Feb. 22-25. Drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez will alternate days with Grosjean slated to begin the rotation on Monday.