When Haas F1 Team debuted in the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship to become the first American Formula One team in 30 years, it did so with help from two Italian partners – Scuderia Ferrari and Dallara. It’s a collaboration that continues as Formula One comes into the final leg of its European stretch with the Italian Grand Prix Sunday at Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Maranello-based Ferrari provides Haas F1 Team with its power unit, gearbox and overall technical support, and famed racecar builder Dallara has Haas F1 Team’s design staff embedded in its Parma headquarters.
Proof of the program’s success can be found in Haas F1 Team’s eighth-place standing in the constructor ranks, where after 13 races it is 22 points ahead of ninth-place Renault and only 17 points behind seventh-place Toro Rosso. The 28 points Haas F1 Team has earned so far this season are the most of any new team in this millennium. When Jaguar debuted in 2000 and when Toyota came on the scene in 2002, each entity managed only two point-paying finishes in their entire first seasons for a combined total of six points.
With Ferrari providing the horsepower and an upgrade package for Haas F1 Team, the outfit feels well-prepared for Formula One’s fastest track. The circuit’s long straights combined with teams’ low-drag configurations and new rear wing mean that speeds approach 360 kph (224 mph). Cornering speeds are relatively low and with the high-speed straights, tire wear is minimal.
After 2 optimistic practice sessions that saw Grosjean 6th quick and Gutiérrez 9th quick in FP1 and Grosjean 9th quick and Gutiérrez 14th quick in FP2 hopes were running high for both cars to make it into Q3 on Saturday.
A spin in FP3 for Grosjean forced a gearbox change for the #8 VF-16 which will result in a 5 grid-spot penalty for the Frenchman.
Both Haas F1 drivers easily made it into Q2 as the new rear wing and engine updates appeared to be paying immediate dividends. Grosjean could only muster the 12th fastest lap in Q2 and was eliminated but Esteban Gutiérrez became the first Haas driver to make it to Q3 by turning the 7th quickest lap, splitting the 2 Red Bulls.
Gutiérrez acquitted himself well in Q3, even with the rear of his Haas VF-16 stepping out on him as he rounded the second Lesmo (turn four) during his qualifying lap. Gutiérrez ended the final round of knockout qualifying in 10th with a fast lap of 1:23.184 and Grosjean, after his 5 grid-spot penalty will start P17.
Lewis Hamilton claimed the pole with a blistering lap of 1:21.135, an average speed around 159MPH!
Pirelli is bringing three tire compounds to Monza:
P Zero White medium – less grip, less wear (used for long-race stints)
P Zero Yellow soft – more grip, medium wear (used for shorter-race stints and initial portion of qualifying)
P Zero Red supersoft – highest amount of grip, highest amount of wear (used for qualifying and select race situations)
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 White mediums and one set of P Zero Yellow softs) and one mandatory specification for Q3 (one set of P Zero Red supersofts).
Haas F1 Team’s drivers have selected the following amounts:
Grosjean: one set of P Zero White mediums, three sets of P Zero Yellow softs and nine sets of P Zero Red supersofts
Gutiérrez: two sets of P Zero White mediums, two sets of P Zero Yellow softs and nine sets of P Zero Red supersofts
Image courtesy of Haas F1 Media