Haas F1 is the only American based F1 team on the grid. They are based out of Kannapolis, North Carolina on the same campus as the Stewart-Haas NASCAR team. They debuted last year (2016), founded by Gene Haas. Gene is also the founder of Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool manufacturer in North America.
The team is no rookie to winning championships; with championship drivers Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, with Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick in tow. The team is partly lead by 3-time cup champion Tony Stewart.
The car used is currently the VF-17. The "V" is a nod to the manufacturing industry in which Haas is based, which stands for "vertical". This refers to the vertical machining centers in which Haas provides tooling for. The"F" stands, of course, for Formula 1, with 17 referring to the year. The car is powered by Ferrari's 062 engine and power unit.
Currently, the drivers are Magnussen and Grosjean. With them driving in Haas's inaugural season, the team ended 8th in the constructor's standings. This team finish was the best by any new team as of recently. This season, their best finish was in Austria, where Grosjean ended 6th behind the Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull Teams. This was an outstanding finish, ending up ahead of both Force India cars.
The team has gotten a huge following in the United States. The Haas name is very infamous through the USA with racing and automotive manufacturing/engineering. When the American based team started in 2016, the fans were there to support them. In 2017 at the USGP, COTA added "Haas Hill" admission ticket and upgrades for patrons. Tickets for this area sold quickly, and fans poured in to show support for America's F1 team.
In their most recent race, the Mexico Grand Prix, chaos occurred at turns 1-3 for the front-runners. Sebastian Vettel, who needed 2nd or higher, fought for position with Bottas and Verstappen. Slight damage occurred when Vettel made contact with his wing on Verstappen. Vettel, forced to go wide by Bottas on the inside, found himself being in the middle of a three-car wide fight through turn 3 with Hamilton on the outside. Vettel inevitably made contact with Hamilton's rear tire, causing a puncture. This caused both championship rivals to pit after just the first lap.
With them at the rear, Magnussen immediately found himself in 6th (tied for the teams best finish this season) until he was caught by Perez. Vettel, fighting for the championship, fought his way past Magnussen. This left him at 8th, where he fought off Lewis for a terrific finish.
“That was like a victory. It was incredible, and a great way to reward everyone for their hard work. It was a perfect race. It couldn’t have gone better. We could easily have given up and just thrown the towel into the ring yesterday – it was a very tough day for us all. Nobody gave up, and everyone knows we’re not the worst team, or meant to be on the last row. We’re meant to be in the points, fighting in the midfield and getting into the top-10. We pushed on and I’m very proud of the team for that. We’re going to continue to fight. It’s not going to be easy, we can see that, but we’ll continue to push in the constructors championship and have fun all the way to the end.” - Magnussen after the Mexico GP.
In the current constructor's championship, which has already been rewarded to Mercedes, the standings are as follows:
1. Mercedes - 595
2. Ferrari - 455
3. Red Bull - 340
4. Force India - 175
5. Williams - 76
6. Toro Rosso - 53
7. Renault - 48
8. Haas - 47
9. Mclaren - 24
10. Sauber - 5
The team surely isn't the best, but they sure aren't the worst. Sure for now the team is fighting for around 10th to keep in the points. Hopefully that changes and the team doesn't settle for mid-pack. With the current rate of progress, the team is capable of making a top-5 run and maybe even a podium even as soon as next year. Kevin and Romain are determined to keep pushing their team further. Haas is only 1 point behind Renault, and 6 points behind Toro Rosso. With a good result in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, the team could finish 6th in points behind Williams. That would be an amazing accomplishment in only their second season.
Haas F1 has done so much for the sport already. For a sport that has no American drivers, it might be easy to lose attention from American motorsport fans. With Team Haas being ambassadors for F1, Americans have a hometown favorite and underdog to cheer for. This in turn expands the popularity of F1 and helps put more smiles on peoples' faces. If this team can keep improving, the sky is the limit in terms of what they can achieve.
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