F1 finally has an American team back on the grid. Haas revealed the VF-16 this afternoon, their 2016 challenger and “Very First” F1 entry. An aesthetically pleasing livery, albeit another lacking the distinct colours which many fans are pleading for, as well as some interesting technical features mean that Haas have certainly turned heads on their first day in the spotlight.
Being the first brand-new entrant into the sport since 2010, Haas’ first steps in F1 are going to be attention-inducing. Anticipation regarding today’s reveal was such that the team’s website briefly crashed when the images of the car first appeared.
The VF-16 has some intriguing features. While all other team’s so far have opted for the ‘stub-nose’ profile, Haas have gone in a slightly different direction, using a seemingly similar concept but with an alternative application.
In addition, the packaging around the Ferrari powertrain is impressively tight. Hopefully Haas have fully understood where the limit is in regards to packaging and maximised the potential, without over-stepping the mark and jeopardising reliability.
By taking a number parts straight from Maranello, Haas have therefore had more time to focus on aerodynamics and monocoque design, which should bode well. The team will need to hit the ground running if they are to achieve their ambition of being regular points scorers in their debut year. Reliability headaches and operational errors need to be kept to a minimum.
Haas’ progress during the up-coming pre-season tests will be fascinating. High mileage totals early on will indicate that this is a solid baseline upon which both Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez and their engineers can build.