“We certainly have more confidence,” Steiner added. “In the first year, there were more risks. We didn’t have the experience to know what was truly needed, so we planned for a variety of contingencies. You have to provide for them, even if they’re not necessary. Now we know how things happen, so we can just refine all your processes to get the result you want. That’s the biggest thing (we have) with time. Next year, we’ll be even better.”
Teams use these two weeks to prepare for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, where in a month’s time the 69th season of Formula One competition will begin.
While the title fight will likely be among the big-three teams of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, the midfield will be as stout as ever, with seven teams neck and neck as Haas F1 Team battles against Force India, Williams, Renault, Toro Rosso, McLaren and Sauber.
Every team seeks to improve, and after an offseason of CAD/CAM software engineering, where theories are vetted on a 60-percent scale-model car in the wind tunnel, testing means real-world application.
And with Haas F1 Team founder and chairman Gene Haas hoping to be within a half-second of Ferrari, with whom his team shares a power unit, gearbox and overall technical support, testing is where the rubber literally meets the road.
“For us, the expectation is always the same,” Steiner said of the team’s mindset entering the testing stretch. “We want to run as much as possible and to learn as much as possible. We’ve now got more people working back at the factory that can analyze data. Before, this was an area where we were perhaps a little weak. We’re growing.”
“We’re always getting better, and to get better you need time. With having more people, we can do more to get prepared for the first race.”
Steiner added that — like most teams during preseason testing, and especially given this year’s three-engine limit — the goal is reliability.
“Hopefully, we are reliable,” he affirmed. “I hope we don’t have a lot of issues. That always helps and it gives you confidence for going racing. This year we only get three engines, so basically every engine has to last an average of seven races, which is quite a lot and demanding.”
“We just need to collect as much data as possible, so we can analyze and get prepared for the first race. We’re looking forward to the new season.”
CREDIT: Haas F1 Team