Gene Haas says Romain Grosjean's strong results in the first two races of 2016 are validating every aspect of his new F1 team.
Grosjean followed up on his sixth-place finish in Australia with an even more remarkable fifth at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Haas, which joined the grid this year with a Ferrari engine and technical partnership, finds itself fifth in the drivers' and constructors' championship after just two races as an F1 team.
Team owner Haas says those early results give his team valuable momentum at the start of its debut season.
"It was great," he told ESPN at Martinsville Speedway after NASCAR's STP 500. "The team did awesome. I think it gives us some confidence going into the Chinese Grand Prix. It was all good. A little beginner's luck there, but a little momentum can't hurt."
While there was an element of luck about Grosjean's result in Australia, which was helped by the timing of a red flag, the Frenchman utilised an advantageous grid position in Bahrain to go one better this weekend. On Saturday Grosjean admitted he had been pleased to miss out on the final qualifying session as it gave him freedom to choose which tyres he would start the race on.
However, while Grosjean has excelled in two races, teammate Esteban Gutierrez has suffered the bad luck, being hit by Fernando Alonso in Australia and retiring with a technical fault in Bahrain. Haas thinks Gutierrez's bad luck is a timely reminder of why his team must not get carried away in future races.
"It's awesome. But look at Esteban, too, he's had two races with bad luck. That bad luck can go to either car, so we were just very fortunate. But the car is good. We validated the aero, the car, the chassis, the engine that all works and I think Grosjean drove the hell out of it. He got it in there, passing people, good tyre strategy. It was a race that everything worked."
Interview conducted by Bob Pockrass