Haas admits debut result way beyond expectations

Haas F1 team owner Gene Haas says the American outfit would have been happy with its cars just making it to the end of the Australian Grand Prix.

Haas admits debut result way beyond expectations
Race winner Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates with the fans
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Sixth placed Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team with Gene Haas, Haas Automotion President; Steve Jones, Channel 4 F1 Presenter Mark Webber, Porsche Team WEC Driver and Channel 4 Presenter and David Coulthard, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Advisor and Channel 4 F1 Commentator
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16
Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team VF-16

Romain Grosjean secured a sensational result for the team in its first-ever F1 race, the Frenchman finishing in sixth place after benefitting from the red-flag period triggered by the crash between teammate Esteban Gutierrez and McLaren's Fernando Alonso.

Haas admits the result was way beyond the team's expectations.

"I don't think we even targeted points," said Haas. "The goal was for both cars to finish the race. I think if both cars had finished the race, just from attrition would have basically got us a 10th place.

"Five cars I think fell for various reasons, so we just needed to go beyond that. Not only did we go beyond that, we actually exceeded that by getting up to sixth.

"That came back to the tyre strategy of putting a set of mediums on there, and running them for 39 laps. That comes back to Grosjean being able to save his tyres, and that takes a lot of experience to know that, 'if I save these tyres, and do not race these guys, it'll pay off in the later laps.'

"It's all a strategy. You've got to understand your strategy and stay with your strategy. That's sometimes hard to do."

Rivals will come around to Haas' approach

Team boss Gunther Steiner said on Sunday that the result would have been impossible without Ferrari's help, and while Haas says rivals undermine his squad's approach, he is convinced they welcome the competition.

"They'll probably do all of that and more," he said when asked if other teams undermined its approach.

"We were doing NASCAR for a long time, so we're a little thick skinned. I wouldn't be worried about what they're going to do with me. I went to the press conference yesterday, and they had the team principals there.

"They were all very welcoming and warm about it. I think they like good competition. If we can provide them with good competition, they'll welcome that and appreciate that. That's what racing is about.

"You don't want to come here and win races easily, because what's the point of that? When you win a race, you want to know that you beat someone who gave it his all.

"And when you do that, that's what makes you feel really good about it."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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