Thuesday, 13 february 2018, 09:14 , by Matthew Scott
Haas Formula One team owner Gene Haas has admitted that, at some points last season, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were performing to a higher standard that their vehicles, whilst also predicting an improvement in the team from the 2017 campaign.
The Haas team has only been in F1 for two years and has secured two consecutive eighth-place finishes in 2016 and 2017. Grosjean and Magnussen have featured in every season and will so again in 2018, and Gene Haas has praised his drivers for their performances despite the car's defects.
"I felt like there were times last year where our drivers were better than our cars'" the American owner said.
"So, we need to step up, but we know where we need to improve thanks in large part to the experience of our drivers.
"Our drivers’ competitiveness works well, and it’s not a negative because they work well together. They know what they’re doing, so I think that they kind of help each other, but they are competing against each other.
"It’s pretty amazing how the two cars are almost always close to each other in qualifying and practice, so you know the drivers are extremely capable.
"If we give them fast cars, they’ll move right up the ladder."
Haas predicts that the teams around his own will likely develop and improve this season, but he remains confident that his outfit can do too.
"It looks like everyone is going to be better," Haas said in a preview of the 2018 season.
"We identified our weak spots and Guenther (Steiner, team principal) and I had a good heart-to-heart talk on that one in Mexico City about what direction we were going to take and how we were going to improve.
"It’s no secret we use a lot of Ferrari equipment, so we’re using them as our baseline. We need to be within a half-second of the Ferraris in order for us to be competitive. We weren’t last year.
"I would say we were a second to a second-and-a-half slower than the Ferraris. Overall, we were maybe two seconds off the pole qualifiers, so we need to knock a second off that if we really want to be competitive."