The F1 season hasn’t even begun yet, and Haas’s new team has already gotten hung up after the nose of their new FV-16 car suddenly went up in the air as Romain Grosjean took it out for testing in Barcelona Monday. The incident occurred during the 13th lap as Grosjean tore down the track at 199 mph.
Although Haas F1 team boss Gunther Steiner downplayed the incident, things were disappointing all the way around for the American team as the car was not only listed as 10th fastest out of the 11 being tested, the team was only able to complete 31 laps (the least except for Renault). In comparison Mercedes champ Lewis Hamilton completed 152 and Nico Rosberg 172 laps in the team’s new
Things improved somewhat on day 2, and Haas team manager Dave O’Neill noted that they are just beginning to get their feet wet, and have been practicing pit stops and stopping on the marks for the driver as well as checking out all their equipment. New parts have been ordered, and Esteban Gutiérrez (who ran 72 laps Tuesday) is expected to take his next turn behind the wheel tomorrow. The teams will then take a 4-day break before returning to the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya for a 2nd and final round of preseason testing March 1-4. Gutiérrez will drive March 1-2 and Grosjean wraps the test March 3-4.
According to Haas, 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. 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 dark gray, light gray and red-toned livery of the VF-16 was derived from the scheme of Haas Automation’s complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers, while the power unit was provided by Ferrari.
“From an international standpoint, Formula One is the highest echelon of racing, 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, stated Gene. 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.”
In addition, Steiner added that the company doesn’t expect to win the championship its first year out, but they do want to prove that “we can “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 will make its debut run in March 20 at the F1 season-opener Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.