Haas turned up to the Spanish Grand Prix with what they described as “significant” developments in their bid to reaffirm themselves as the team to beat in the midfield. Leaving the circuit on Friday, Romain Grosjean was optimistic that the team could qualify both cars in the top 10, and they did just that.
Grosjean will line up in seventh place alongside team mate Kevin Magnussen on the fourth row of the grid. It’s the first time the team has qualified inside the top 8 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and is Haas’ best overall qualifying result of 2019. And the prospect of their first points since Australia in March left a smile on the faces of both two drivers ahead of race day.
“I’ve got faith”, says Grosjean, “I’ve got faith the car will be good tomorrow, we’ve been working hard and here we knew our problems should disappear. It doesn’t mean it’s not underlying and we need to keep working for the rest of the season but yeah we knew it should be good.”
Haas’ latest upgrade sees the introduction of a new front wing and floor in an attempt to aid the tyre issues that have plagued them over the course of the season.
The American squad were the class of the midfield in Australia where they backed up a double Q3 finish with points courtesy of Kevin Magnussen’s seventh place. But after strong showings in qualifying in Bahrain and China, they missed the top 10 shootout in Azerbaijan - and missed the points in all three race.
Their main weakness has been understanding the tyres and finding their optimum operating window. The new upgrades – along with the high-energy dynamics of the Barcelona circuit, which is sympathetic to generating heat in the tyres – have given Haas hope of a return to points-finish form on the track they went so well in in pre-season testing.