Rich Energy Haas F1 Team Set for Preseason Tests in Barcelona

Rich Energy Haas F1 Team Set for Preseason Tests in Barcelona

15.02.2019: Approach Unchanged as American Team Heads into Season Four Rich Energy Haas F1 Team will head to Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya with a full roster of drivers set to take the wheel of the brand-new Haas VF-19 in the opening week of preseason t

Approach Unchanged as American Team Heads into Season Four




Rich Energy Haas F1 Team will head to Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya with a full roster of drivers set to take the wheel of the brand-new Haas VF-19 in the opening week of preseason testing, Feb. 18 to Feb. 21, prior to the start of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.



Regular drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will be joined by test driver Pietro Fittipaldi in the first of two scheduled preseason test weeks at the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn track – home of the Spanish Grand Prix.




Grosjean will commence testing on Monday, Feb. 18, before Magnussen assumes responsibilities on Tuesday, Feb. 19. A half-day will follow for Grosjean on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 20 with Fittipaldi steering for the first time that afternoon. The Brazilian pilot will continue running the morning of Thursday, Feb. 21 before Magnussen returns in the afternoon to conclude the opening week’s test.




The second week of preseason testing, Feb. 26 to March 1, will see Grosjean and Magnussen run full-day programs on alternate days, starting with Magnussen on Tuesday, Feb. 26.




With Rich Energy Haas F1 Team’s driver line-up unchanged for a third consecutive season, Mercedes being the only other team to field the same pairing as 2018, Grosjean and Magnussen will be seeking to emulate last season’s performances in the VF-18 which led to a fifth place finish in the constructors’ championship with a total of 93 points, the team’s best finish to date in Formula One following back-to-back eighth place standings in 2016 (29 points) and 2017 (47 points).




Looking forward, the 2019 season brings the challenge of adapting to new regulations, resulting in a revised look to the cars this year. A simplified front-wing is evident, now 200mm wider and 20mm higher – designed to allow drivers to follow each other more closely and increase the possibility of overtaking. Similarly, the rear wing has been made simpler, as well as 20mm higher and 100mm wider, to aid slipstreaming and promote closer racing.




Smaller, repositioned barge boards are also visible, reduced in height by 150mm and moved forward by 100mm, these have been designed to improve air flow from the front wing making them less aerodynamically disruptive.




The 21-round 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship kicks off with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, Sunday, March 17.
   




On Monday, Feb. 18, Rich Energy Haas F1 Team will perform a physical unveil of the Haas VF-19 at 8:00 a.m. CET on the pit lane outside of its garage stall at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.




As in previous seasons, this will feature Grosjean and Magnussen pulling the cover off the VF-19. The drivers will pose for photographs with the car before heading back into the garage, where preparations will continue ahead of the 9 a.m. track opening and the start of 2019 preseason testing.
   



   

Guenther STEINER, Team Principal
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team




Last year’s car, the VF-18, showcased its potential in preseason testing – with the team going on to finish fifth overall in the constructors’ standing in only its third season. Does the performance of last year’s car put pressure on the team to be competitive again straight out of the box with the VF-19, or is there a comfortable gestation period for a Formula One car to increase performance levels at the start of the season?




“There is pressure, of course, as our car performed very well last year. There is then pressure to have a good car this year. We won’t know until we go testing. The hopes are there that we can have a competitive car, but that’s the same as everyone else.”




Have you received a positive reaction to the new look of the car, courtesy of title partner Rich Energy coming on-board, and to the design of the VF-19 from the digital renderings released at the time of the livery unveil last week
?



“Absolutely. A lot of people like the new look. It’s kind of a new old-look. There’s been a similar livery run in the past, the black and gold colors have a history in Formula One, in the seventies and eighties particularly. Our cars have always looked nice, it’s just that a new livery is always going to be well received, just because it’s something different. It looks good.”




At the launch event there was a lot of talk concerning expectations for 2019, and in particular building on the team’s 2018 standing. From design and build of the VF-19, through to continuity in driver line-up, team personnel etc, how do you go about planning your route-map to move all aspects of the organization forward?



“It’s on-going work, it’s nothing different from any other team. We always try to improve every little bit of the team, and hopefully we can achieve that.”




Rule changes for 2019 have been implemented with the aim of making the racing more competitive, in particular changes to the front and rear wings to increase the possibilities of overtaking by allowing cars to run closer than before with less aerodynamic disturbance. Share your thoughts on those rule changes and how they lay the groundwork for the major changes set for 2021’s regulations package?



“I think overtaking will still be difficult, even with the rule changes. These cars don’t help themselves on this one. The proof is in the pudding. We’ll see how these latest changes play out in Australia next month.”




In addition to having Grosjean and Magnussen test, Fittipaldi is being given the opportunity to drive the VF-19 across two half-days. Is this a vital element to adding to his simulator program or a potential risk to take time from the regular drivers with running so limited?



“To have Pietro (Fittipaldi) in the car is a big element for our simulator work. We’re always trying to improve that. We need to have him in the car to validate if the simulator program is going well or not. This is vital to our program going forward.”




What do you hope to take from Barcelona when the team packs up in preparation for heading to Melbourne and the Australian Grand Prix in March?




“I hope it’s like last year. I hope we go knowing we have a good car, and that we didn’t have big issues. Hopefully we’ll get a lot of running in, so we know the car is reliable and fast. These are hopes, in two weeks we’ll know a lot more.”

 

 

- Stuart Morrison, photos Haas F1

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/rich-energy-haas-f1-team-preseason-tests-barcelona---186450.html

15.02.2019 / MaP

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