With the Austrian Grand Prix July 9 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship starts its European tour. A five-race slate kicks off in Austria before moving to England and then Hungary, Belgium and Italy.
Haas F1 Team comes into this summer stretch having scored four straight point-paying finishes and six on the year to place it seventh in the constructors standings. It has a three-point margin over eighth-place Renault while sixth-place Toro Rosso is 12 points ahead.
After scoring 29 points in its inaugural season, Haas F1 Team came into 2017 looking to expand on that number by consistently putting its cars in the points. After seven races, the American squad has accumulated 21 points and endured only two races without a point-paying result.
Last year, Haas F1 Team only had five races that produced points. The organization has already surpassed that mark in its sophomore year before even reaching the season’s halfway point. The regular taste of points has made the team hungry for more, and the team no longer hopes for points, but expects them.
In last year’s Austrian Grand Prix, Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean finished a strong seventh to pick up six points. Returning to the Red Bull Ring has him and teammate Kevin Magnussen, who finished seventh two weeks ago in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, ready to ring in another points haul.
Scoring points in 2017 has proven to be an exceptional challenge due in large part to an exceptional midfield. The stalwarts of Formula One – Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull – remain as strong as ever. But the gap between the midfield runners of Force India, Williams, Toro Rosso, Haas F1 Team, Renault, Sauber and McLaren is finite. All have scored points and, oftentimes, the team that seemed to have the edge one weekend is playing catch up the next.
This compact midfield now heads to the compact Red Bull Ring. The 4.326-kilometer (2.688-mile) track operates on a condensed version of the Österreichring, which held Formula One races from 1970 until 1987. It is a relatively short circuit with only Monaco, Mexico City and Interlagos (Brazil) being shorter. It has just nine turns – the fewest in Formula One – but covers a wide range of conditions.
The Red Bull Ring’s prime overtaking zone comes at turn two (Remus), where after heavy braking, drivers navigate the sharp corner in either first or second gear. Juxtapose that section with the high-speed turn eight (Rindt), which drivers take at sixth gear, pushing the limits of their car and their resolve. Both types of corners, and all the ones in between, require exceptional traction, which is why Pirelli has brought its three softest tire compounds – P Zero Yellow soft, P Zero Red supersoft and P Zero Purple ultrasoft – to the Austrian Grand Prix.
Austria marks the fifth grand prix for this tire package, making it the most popular tire lineup, by far, in 2017. This same package was used last year in Austria.
Augmenting the consistent tire lineup is the consistency that comes with Formula One’s European tour. After crisscrossing the globe since mid-March, the next two months allow significantly reduced flight times and a welcome reduction in jetlag. Teams can bring all of their transporters, which bring consistent working environs for its drivers, crew members and team partners. It’s as close to normalcy as the world travelers who comprise Formula One can get.
Haas F1 Team embraces that consistency, along with the warm, consistent rays of summer. It’s a combination that can ring up another round of points at the Red Bull Ring.