Haas came of age last year, mixing it at the front of the midfield but failing to take advantage of their car’s ultimate potential. Can they right that wrong this year? In the sixth of 10 individual team previews, we map out the best and worst case scenarios for the American team in 2019...
Last year’s ranking: 5th
Driver line-up (2018 ranking): Romain Grosjean (14th), Kevin Magnussen (9th)
2019 F1 Car: VF-19
Best Case Scenario
Whenever fans list the F1 teams and finish up with a finger spare, Haas are generally the omission. The Kaanapolis/Banbury/Varano de' Melegari-based outfit don’t so much fly under the radar as slink silently through the undergrowth on a moonless night.
They are a team that gets on with business without making too much of a fuss. At least that used to be the case. With their ocean grey livery replaced with something more flashy, and a little bit more bombast than usual at their launch, change was in the air at Haas… then they went testing, did a solid, unfussy job and promptly disappeared back into stealth mode.
Haas were seventh on the mileage chart and sixth on the timesheet – though consensus suggests they may be a little bit better than the latter. With only eight days of winter testing, teams don’t really waste time sandbagging in the modern era – but Haas’ times through the speed traps on their fastest laps didn’t particularly tally with the other Ferrari-powered cars.
Last season, a correlation often highlighted was that between a resurgent Ferrari and tech customer Haas enjoying their most competitive season to date. If Ferrari are as strong as they looked in testing, then it’s not beyond the realms of reason that Haas will also see some of those gains. Holding station in fifth would represent a good year for Haas – though they may well be closer to breaking into the top four than they were last time around.