With 10 races down and 10 to go in the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship, Haas F1 Team has already equaled its point tally from 2016 when it became the first American Formula One team to take the grid in 30 years.
Twenty-nine points were earned in that inaugural season which consisted of 21 races. But just nine races into this year’s 20-race marathon, Haas F1 Team has scored the same amount of points. Drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have delivered point-paying performances in all but three races so far this season.
The organization’s penchant for points has positioned the second-year team seventh in the constructors standings, only four points behind sixth-place Toro Rosso and three points ahead of eighth-place Renault. Fifth-place Williams is only 12 points ahead, highlighting the ultra-competitive midfield where drivers and teams are separated by just tenths of a second.
As the season’s second half begins with this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring in Budapest, Haas F1 Team seeks a second helping of points.
That drive begins on the 4.381-kilometer (2.722-mile), 14-turn Hungaroring, a tight circuit that many drivers liken to a full-size karting track. It is the slowest permanent venue in Formula One, a juxtaposition from the ultrafast and flowing Silverstone Circuit where drivers recently competed in the British Grand Prix.
Slow, however, doesn’t mean easy. Despite an average speed of 190 kph (118 mph), which is 56 kph (34 mph) slower than the average speed around Silverstone, the Hungaroring requires precision and preservation. It is a physical track, demanding a lot from the drivers who, in turn, demand a lot from their car.
Hot weather is a hallmark of the Hungarian Grand Prix and combined with the technical nature of the Hungaroring, drivers are tested throughout the 70-lap race. There is seemingly constant and drastic steering wheel input and no reprieve from the ever-present heat since only a scant amount of air is able to flow through the car. Bearing the brunt of this hostile environment, however, are the tires. A high level of traction, a lot of braking and significant lateral energy demands push the tires to their limits, meaning tire management is a crucial component of a team’s race strategy.
For those not qualifying up front – where the Hungarian Grand Prix has been won from the first two rows 29 times in its 31-year history – savvy strategy is a must to advance through the field. The epic drives of Nigel Mansell (12th to first in the 1989 Hungarian Grand Prix) and Jenson Button (14th to first in the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix) prove that despite the lack of overtaking opportunities, tenacity and tire management can ring up points at the Hungaroring.
Tenacity has been a hallmark of Haas F1 Team since its inception. There is a constant desire to achieve and then exceed those achievements – Haas F1 Team’s start to 2017 being the most obvious example. Achievement comes from learning, and as the team navigates the curves of the Hungaroring, its learning curve continues, specifically in regard to the evolution of its brake package and the development of future driving talent.
For the second straight race weekend, 23-year-old Antonio Giovinazzi will take the wheel of the Haas VF-17 during the opening round of practice. The third driver for Scuderia Ferrari is slated for seven FP1 sessions with Haas F1 Team, and the Hungaroring gives Giovinazzi additional Formula One experience.
And when the checkered flag drops on the Hungarian Grand Prix, Haas F1 Team’s talent development continues. Nineteen-year-old Santino Ferrucci will drive the Haas VF-17 Aug. 1-2 during Formula One’s second and final in-season test. Ferrucci tested for Haas F1 Team last year at Silverstone, where the Woodbury, Connecticut-native became the first American driver to wheel an American Formula One car since Oct. 9, 1977 when Danny Ongais drove a Penske PC4 in the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario.
More laps. More experience. More development. That hunger for more is what drives Haas F1 Team into Hungary.