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Haas: Mileage the priority for debut test

15 Feb 2016

This time next week the all-new Haas team will be enjoying their first official track running as the opening pre-season test of 2016 gets underway at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. And not surprisingly their focus will be on lap count not lap times.

Haas’s first F1 car (its name is yet to be revealed) will be unveiled in the Barcelona pit lane early next Monday morning and barely an hour later Romain Grosjean will give the Ferrari-powered machine its official track debut.

“The first thing for the test is to get the car to run and to work well from there,” said Grosjean, who has joined Haas after five years at Lotus. “Hopefully, we can get a lot of mileage. This is a new team, so we need to get everyone to work together, all the engineers, mechanics and the drivers.

“We need to get as much data and knowledge as we can. It’s important to get the reliability sorted as early as possible because we don’t get much testing and we’re going straight to Melbourne.”

Grosjean’s team mate, former Sauber racer and 2015 Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez, will get his first running with Haas next Tuesday and he too stressed that putting mileage on their new challenger will be the main objective.

“We expect to run the car as many laps as possible,” said the Mexican. “This will be our priority, as we need to be sure to sort all the possible issues we may have in order to fix them on time.

“It will be very interesting to develop our car set-up through the tests in preparation ahead of the first race. I am sure we will have plenty of work to do. At the same time, the most important thing will be to always stay together as a team in order to be very efficient with our progress.”

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner conceded that the new squad - the first American-led F1 team in 30 years - are unlikely to be even thinking about pace and performance until the second Barcelona test at the start of next month.

“Because we are a new team, you want to make sure all the people work together - the mechanics work together with the race engineers - to make the car reliable, to understand the car,” said Steiner.

“Everything is new for us. It’s not only a new car, but a new team. In the second test, hopefully we put ourselves in a position to start work on the setups of the car to where we can learn how to make it better for the race.”

All 11 teams are expected to participate in next week’s test, which runs from Monday to Thursday, with all bar Sauber expected to debut their 2016 cars at the start of the session.