Haas F1 Team Bahrain Grand Prix preview

Haas F1 Team Bahrain Grand Prix preview

27.03.2016: Sustaining Gains Into Bahrain After a ‘Pointed’ Weekend in Australia, Haas F1 Team Seeks More in Sakhir

Sustaining Gains Into Bahrain


After a ‘Pointed’ Weekend in Australia, Haas F1 Team Seeks More in Sakhir
 




Bahrain International Circuit
Circuit Length: 5.412 km (3.363 miles)
Laps: 57
Race Distance: 308.238 km (191.53 miles)




Until Haas F1 Team took to the grid last weekend in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, it had been 30 years since an American team competed in the FIA Formula One World Championship. Simply showing up prepared and putting two cars on the track that made competitive lap times was the goal.


And for industry veterans curious to know what kind of organization Haas F1 Team would be, the professional appearance displayed during preseason testing in Barcelona and at the season’s first race in Australia belied an intent to surpass expectations. 
 

Expectations were surpassed in a big way when Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean finished sixth – his best result since coming home third in last year’s Belgian Grand Prix in August. The performance earned eight points for Grosjean in the championship driver standings and eight points for Haas F1 Team in the constructor standings.


 It placed the new kids on the block an unfathomable fifth in the constructor standings, buttressed by teams with decades more experience. The last time a Formula One team scored points in its debut race was in 2002 when Mika Salo finished sixth for Toyota at the Australian Grand Prix, a span of 14 years.
 

Grosjean’s teammate, Esteban Gutiérrez, proved quick as well at Australia, despite not having the results to show for his efforts. In the elimination-style qualifying format that debuted on Saturday, Gutiérrez was putting down a lap that would’ve placed him seventh in Q1, more than enough to vault him into Q2.


But time ran out on his lap, and instead of being one of the 15 fastest drivers to advance into the second round of qualifying, Gutiérrez was left 20th. The silver lining to the unsatisfactory result was that Gutiérrez knew his car was fast and capable of driving to the front come Sunday.


Unfortunately, Gutiérrez’s race was over on lap 17 when Fernando Alonso clipped Gutiérrez’s left-rear tire as the duo entered turn three. The impact launched Alonso into the air and sent Gutiérrez spinning into the gravel trap. Both drivers walked away from the harrowing accident.
 

Gutiérrez’s travails and Grosjean’s point-scoring finish are now in the rearview mirror as Formula One packs up from the land down under to head to Bahrain, site of Round No. 2 on the 21-race Formula One schedule. Practice begins Friday, April 1, with qualifying on Saturday, April 2 and the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, April 3.
 

Grosjean has four career Formula One starts at the 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, with a best finish of third, earned twice in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013. And that third-place run in 2012 marked Grosjean’s first career podium finish. Gutiérrez has two Formula One starts at Bahrain, both with the Sauber F1 Team in 2013 and 2014.
 

Bahrain made its debut on the Formula One calendar in 2004, becoming the first grand prix to be held in the Middle East. The 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix marks the 12th in series history. The circuit is known for massive run-off areas, with substantial track width across its layout .


This encourages overtaking, but has been criticized for not punishing drivers who make mistakes and stray off course. Since the track is located in the middle of the desert, sand can pose a problem – to the level of grip on the racetrack and to the performance of the car, with the engine’s air filters checked thoroughly and often.
 

These challenges, along with the raised expectations from Haas F1 Team’s performance in Australia, greet the organization in Bahrain.





GUENTHER STEINER - Team Principal




  
Haas F1 Team now has its first grand prix under its belt. Obviously, it was highlighted by Grosjean’s sixth-place result, but how did it go overall and what can you take from Australia and apply to Bahrain?


“We had our ups and downs. It started out with not being able to get enough testing in on Friday during practice. We tried to make up for it on Saturday morning during third practice, but we had an incident with a car colliding with Romain (Grosjean) as he was exiting the garage.


It started off not too pretty, and then qualifying was not what we wished for, but the team bounced back and we got ready for Sunday. We showed a good race speed and we are ready to go racing. In the end it was all positive.


It was hard to get to the positive, but with a lot of work with a lot of hard-working people, we got there. Now the biggest task is to replicate this, which won’t be easy, but for sure we will be trying again.”
 



Upon your return to Haas F1 Team’s headquarters in North Carolina, were you able to get a sense of how the team’s Australia performance resonated in the United States?


“I think it resonated in a very positive way in all of racing in America. Even those who don’t follow Formula One considered it a big achievement for a new team to finish in sixth place and to be from America, which hasn’t had a presence in Formula One in 30 years.”
 


From the outside looking in, it appeared Haas F1 Team was taking a very unorthodox approach to building a Formula One team. And while that is relatively true, did the team’s performance in Australia vindicate your methodology, specifically in regard to partnering with Scuderia Ferrari and Dallara?


“I think our plan is working, but we won’t finish sixth every weekend, so we need to be careful with our expectations. I think we showed that you can start a new team and end up in the midfield.


We were not last in Australia, which was one of our goals, and I don’t think we will be last this year. How far we’ve come is a sign that our plan is working.”
 



Haas F1 Team came out of the gate strong in the season-opener in Australia. History tells us not every grand prix will bring that kind of success. How do you manage expectations, internally and externally?


“We are not being arrogant about our early success and we will have our races where we will underperform. Our sixth-place finish in Australia keeps the team going, working very hard and trying to do the best possible job we can. If we continue to do what we did in Melbourne, good results will come.”
 


The flip side to Grosjean’s sixth-place finish at Australia was Gutiérrez getting caught up in a crash. There was a good bit of damage to the left-rear of Gutiérrez’s car. What needs to be done to repair it and what kind of logistics are involved to get it ready for Bahrain?


“Some of the parts, for example the chassis, were sent back to Europe to be checked and fixed because we can’t do it onsite in Bahrain. We have enough spare parts to build up another chassis, so we will use that. Then the chassis that is repaired will be sent to Bahrain via air to serve as our spare.


The guys will have to work day and night to get to Bahrain, but it’s all doable. Our spare quantity is down, but we have enough to get going again, so we will just keep on working.”
 



Haas F1 Team seems to handle adversity extremely well – be it with technical issues during the second week of testing at Barcelona and when you endured a pit lane collision in practice Saturday at Australia. From your perspective, how well is this new group of personnel working together?


“We chose good, quality people. Nobody gets down in adversity. Everybody gets up. They are working on the solution, not on the problem. They work together because they are professionals and they know they can get it done together as a team.


 It all comes down to the quality of people, and I think our quality is pretty high.”
 



With wet weather Friday at Australia, it compromised the team’s ability to work on the car’s setup for the race. The weather in Bahrain is usually pretty consistent, and that means consistently dry. How helpful will a full weekend of consistent weather be for you and the team?


“If we can get a good day of practice in with both cars and six hours of running, that will be fantastic just to learn more about this machine.”
 


With Gutiérrez’s lap-17 crash and Grosjean changing tires during the red flag, Haas F1 Team didn’t make any pit stops at Australia. How is the team preparing for pit stops and is there any worry that’s one element of the program that hasn’t really been tested?


“We didn’t complain that we didn’t have to do a pit stop in Australia, but we will have to do it in Bahrain, for sure. We will do a lot of things during practice in Bahrain to ensure that we are ready. We got away with not doing pit stops in Australia, but we won’t be able to in Bahrain.


The focus will be on completing pit stops this weekend so the team goes into the race confident that they have trained properly.”
 



How did the addition of a third tire option impact your strategy for Australia, and what impact do you think it will have on your tire strategy for Bahrain?


“Everyone has the third tire option, so you just deal with it. I don’t think it has a huge impact because it’s the same for everybody. We just need to make sure we use the three options we’ve got to the best of our knowledge.”
 
  


Haas F1 Team now has its first grand prix under its belt. Obviously, Australia went very well for you. What can you take from it and apply to Bahrain?



“It went better than expected, to be fair. It was a difficult weekend with the weather, and a tricky qualifying session for everyone. Sunday is the day you really want to perform, and we did very well. The car was reliable and it went to the end.


The strategy was perfect. Since day one the car has shown huge potential. We showed that in Australia. With barely any setup work, we put it on the track and managed to hold on to sixth at the end of the grand prix.”
 



Haas F1 Team seems to handle adversity extremely well – be it with technical issues during the second week of testing at Barcelona and when you endured a pit lane collision in practice Saturday at Australia. From your perspective, how well is this new group of personnel working together?



“Very well. Since winter testing, everyone on the team has worked as if they’ve been working together for several years. That’s what people were seeing from the outside and that’s what I saw from the inside. FP3 in Australia was a good example.


They changed the floor of the car in just over 25 minutes, which was amazing. They managed to get the cars on track every time. There were no mistakes. Of course, everyone can improve and get more used to everything but, generally, there’s a very good feeling in the team. It’s a good group of people.”
 



With wet weather Friday at Australia, it compromised the team’s ability to work on the car’s setup for the race. The weather in Bahrain is usually pretty consistent, and that means consistently dry. How helpful will a full weekend of consistent weather be for you and the team?



“It would be very helpful. We need to get more running. We need to get more mileage and further our understanding of the car. We have a long list of things we want to try and do, and things to improve.


It’s a lot of work but, on the other hand, it means we can improve the car by a big chunk. I always like to keep things positive. If we can do a lot of that in Bahrain, the car will improve and that means we can keep working on better results.”
 


How did the addition of a third tire option impact your strategy for Australia, and what impact do you think it will have on your tire strategy for Bahrain?

“I think it’s pretty cool, actually. It opens more strategy, more thinking, probably more work on the pit wall trying to find out which is the best tire to go on. It’s more work on Friday to see the condition of each tire, to see the tire life. We could see different people at the front at different grand prix.”
 


  
Bahrain International Circuit


•    Total number of race laps: 57

•    Complete race distance: 308.238 kilometers (191.53 miles)


•    Pit lane speed limit: 80 kph (50 mph)



•    This 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn Bahrain International Circuit has hosted Formula One since 2004, with last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix serving as the venue’s 11th grand prix. (The 2011 race was canceled.)


•    Pedro de la Rosa holds the race lap record at Bahrain (1:31.447), set in 2005 with McLaren.


•    Fernando Alonso holds the qualifying lap record at Bahrain (1:29.848), set in 2005 with Renault.



•    The Bahrain International Circuit is a purpose-built facility for Formula One. Debuting in 2004, Bahrain was the first grand prix to be held in the Middle East. The circuit is known for massive run-off areas, with substantial track width across its layout.


This encourages overtaking, but has been criticized for not punishing drivers who make mistakes and stray off course. Since the track is located in the middle of the desert, sand can pose a problem – to the level of grip on the racetrack and to the performance of the car, with the engine’s air filters checked thoroughly and often.


The race takes place near dusk and finishes under the lights, with the temperature swing from the heat of day to the cool of night adding another variable to a car’s setup and adjustability.


•    On average, the temperatures in Bahrain in late March incrementally rise each day, with highs increasing from 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) to 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) over the course of the month.


Daily low temperatures range from 17 degrees Celsius (62 degrees Fahrenheit) to 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). The median cloud cover is 31 percent, and the average probability of rainfall on any given day is 26 percent.


Relative humidity ranges from 42 percent (comfortable) to 85 percent (very humid), with a dew point varying from 9 degrees Celsius/48 degrees Fahrenheit (dry) to 18 degrees Celsius/64 degrees Fahrenheit (comfortable).


The dew point is rarely below 3 degrees Celsius/38 degrees Fahrenheit (dry) or above 21 degrees Celsius/69 degrees Fahrenheit (muggy). Typical wind speeds vary from 5 kph/3 mph to 29 kph/18 mph (light air to fresh breeze), rarely exceeding 42 kph/26 mph (strong breeze)



•    DYK? Although alcoholic beverages are legal in Bahrain, drivers do not spray the traditional champagne on the podium. Instead, race organizers provide drivers with Waard, a non-alcoholic drink made from rosewater and pomegranate. 


   •    Pirelli is bringing three tire compounds to Bahrain:


o    P Zero White medium – less grip, less wear (used for long-race stints)


o    P Zero Yellow soft – more grip, medium wear (used for shorter-race stints and for initial portion of qualifying)


o    P Zero Red supersoft – highest amount of grip, highest amount of wear (used for qualifying and select race situations)


•    Two of the three available compounds must be used during the race. Teams are able to decide when they want to run which compound, adding an element of strategy to the race. (If the race takes place in the wet, the Cinturato Blue full wet tire and the Cinturato green intermediate tire will be made available.)


•    A driver can use all three sets of Pirelli tires in a race. For example, if they used the P Zero Red supersoft to advance from Q2 to Q3, they would start the race on those tires and attempt to make some lightning-quick laps to gain a margin over their counterparts before pitting for the P Zero White medium. Then depending on circumstances that unfold during the race, another pit stop could be made for the P Zero Yellow soft, allowing the driver to better attack during the race’s closing laps.


•    Pirelli provides each driver 13 sets of dry tires for the race weekend. Of those 13 sets, drivers and their teams can choose the specifications of 10 of those sets from the three compounds Pirelli selected. The remaining three sets are defined by Pirelli – two mandatory tire specifications for the race (one set of P Zero Yellow softs and one set of P Zero White mediums) and one mandatory specification for Q3 (one set of P Zero Red supersofts). Haas F1 Team’s drivers have selected the following amounts:



o    Grosjean: two sets of P Zero White mediums, four sets of P Zero Yellow softs and seven sets of P Zero Red supersofts
o    Gutiérrez: one set of P Zero White mediums, five sets of P Zero Yellow softs and seven sets of P Zero Red supersofts

  •    After much deliberation, the new qualifying procedure Formula One debuted in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix is back at Bahrain. It’s an elimination-style format broken into three sessions and it works like this:



o    Q1


§    Lasts 16 minutes, with all 22 drivers participating
§    After seven minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated
§    In 90-second intervals thereafter, the next slowest drivers are eliminated until the checkered flag falls
§    Seven drivers get eliminated, with 15 drivers moving on to Q2



o    Q2


§    Lasts 15 minutes, featuring the 15 fastest drivers from Q1
§    After six minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated
§    In 90-second intervals thereafter, the next slowest drivers are eliminated until the checkered flag falls
§    Seven drivers get eliminated, with eight drivers advancing to Q3



o    Q3


§    Lasts 14 minutes, featuring the eight fastest drivers from Q2
§    After five minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated
§    In 90-second intervals thereafter, the next slowest drivers are eliminated until the checkered flag falls
§    Two drivers will remain in the final 90 seconds, theoretically creating a shootout for the pole
 


  

Mike Arning- photos Haas F1

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/haas-f1-team-bahrain-gp-sakhir---146865.html

27.03.2016 / MaP

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