Haas eyes points on debut but downplays rivals’ praise

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the Formula One newcomers are eyeing a points finish in Australia, yet adds they should not get carried away by the praise coming from their rivals.

The US squad enters the sport on the back of a strong technical partnership with Ferrari, which recently came under close scrutiny from the FIA, and have entrusted its maiden F1 challenger to the hands of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.

Having recently confirmed that the American outfit was on schedule for this week’s FIA crash tests and February’s pre-season sessions in Barcelona, Steiner details Haas’ target for the March 20 curtain raiser in Melbourne.

“We would like to make the points. Qualifying, if we get to Q2 we will be fine,” he told Sky Sports.

“To have a chance of points is our goal and to put on a good show. To show what we have worked the last two years for and we have no big dramas going on. That is our biggest aim at the moment.”

Haas will become the first new F1 team since HRT, Caterham, and Virgin (now Manor Marussia) joined the fray in 2010. Despite the trio's meagre combined record, the likes of Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn and Force India’s Sergio Perez have already declared they were worried about the threat from the latest entrants.

While naturally flattered, Steiner is equally quick to downplay these statements.

“It's positive to hear, but it's talk,” he told GPUpdate.net.

“What we need to be careful of is not to believe the propaganda of what people are saying. As I've said, it's always very difficult to predict, because everybody else [could have] developed better things.

“There's a lot of big talk about us, which is nice to hear, but I don't get carried away, I try to stay realistic.

“We haven't put a wheel on the ground yet. We will, obviously, but I'm not predicting that we are going to beat Force India, you know. They were fifth, so I would say they're doing a pretty good job.

“I always say, even to come last in Formula One is a big job – it's not as easy as it looks.”

Gene Haas’ eponymous team will be America's first F1 venture since the Carl Haas-founded (no family ties) Team Haas – often referred to as Haas Lola – competed in the 1985 and 1986 seasons.

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