Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the US outfit is “pretty happy” with the progress it made over the first pre-season test in Barcelona, but admits there is still plenty of work to be done.
Haas’ maiden F1 challenger – the VF-16 – completed 281 laps (24 more than McLaren-Honda) over the opening four-day group session, with Romain Grosjean even clocking the second fastest time on Wednesday.
Ahead of its debut season, Haas did experience some teething troubles – a front wing failure for Grosjean on the first day followed by electronics and software glitches, but Steiner stills feels buoyed by the American team’s showing.
“I think the list of what we have to fix is pretty long to be honest and we are working on it,” the ex-Jaguar and Red Bull man said. “For most of the stuff we have a solution, time is just the biggest issue to fix it all. But it’s not as if we were like ‘wow, how do we fix this?’ So we are in a pretty good shape.
“How much have we done from our list? It’s difficult to say because we don’t know what is coming next week. We are pretty happy with the progress we have made in testing. We didn’t anticipate we could get all this running in this week, to do our whole race distance was pretty cool today. That gives us a good feeling.”
Steiner was surprised but pleased to see Esteban Gutierrez carry out a full race simulation on the final day and has already noticed where improvements are needed.
“I didn’t expect that we could finish it off to be honest, so I would not have been disappointed if we had a problem in the middle of it.
“We were doing it for the first time with a new car, a new team, so something can go wrong. To be able to do it is very encouraging.
“We need to practice the pit stops we a little bit more because now it’s happening in reality. You can practice so much in the factory... but it’s a bit different when a car comes in to you and it’s all hot and everything, so it’s a new experience for the guys and we need to go through that.”
Haas will return to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya next week with the second pre-season test taking take from March 1-4.