Gelegenheit Beckons Haas F1 Team In Hockenheim
The beauty of sports is that there is always opportunity, and in the event one opportunity doesn’t come to fruition, another opportunity is presented. Motorsports is no different, and in the 21-race FIA Formula One World Championship, opportunity beckons at each grand prix.
Haas F1 Team has gone into its past two races with high hopes buoyed by productive practice sessions and strong qualifying performances. But when the checkered flag dropped at the British Grand Prix and the Hungarian Grand Prix, Haas F1 Team left unfulfilled. Drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez finished outside the points in both races, which came following the team’s best collective result in the Austrian Grand Prix where Grosjean finished seventh and Gutiérrez finished 11th, one spot shy of scoring a point.
With the July 31 German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring next up on the Formula One schedule, gelegenheit greets Haas F1 Team. The American team’s next race is, of course, their next opportunity, and it’s a coveted one for where it sits on the calendar.
The German Grand Prix is the last race before the three-week summer break, where during this span teams must observe a factory shutdown of 14 consecutive days. This means no work on the current car, and no development of any future cars. While the break is incredibly welcome for a series that visits 21 different countries between March and November, everyone wants to go into the hiatus with momentum that can be carried into the final, nine-race stretch that culminates with the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Nov. 27.
Germany provides that opportunity. The 4.574-kilometer (2.842-mile), 17-turn Hockenheimring has hosted Formula One since 1970, with this year’s event serving as the venue’s 35th grand prix.
The Hockenheimring of today is very different from the one Formula One first visited in 1970. Gone are the incredibly long straights through the forest, consigned to history via a track redesign in 2002. The current track, however, is still plenty fast, with drivers reaching speeds in excess of 280 kph (174 mph) in the opening section alone. Drivers are at full throttle for two-thirds of every lap, putting exorbitant stress on engines and the fuel they consume. Fuel management is of utmost importance, and with the right application, can be achieved without sacrificing lap time. Efficient corner approaches can lead to fuel efficiency and overtaking, particularly at the hairpin in turn six and the tight turn eight. The juxtaposition of speeds between the straights and corners gives the new Hockenheimring plenty of character, and with the redesign, plenty of sight lines for the fans in attendance.
As the first American Formula One outfit in 30 years, Haas F1 Team has built plenty of character in its debut season. The organization has collected a total of 28 points 11 rounds into its inaugural campaign to stand eighth in the constructor standings, 10 points behind seventh-place McLaren and 22 points ahead of ninth-place Renault.
But standing pat does not interest Haas F1 Team. In fact, the only acceptable form of standing is on the gas, which Grosjean and Gutiérrez have demonstrated in qualifying of late. Each driver has been on the cusp of breaking into Q3, where only the 10 fastest drivers are eligible to compete for the pole.
This potential, combined with the opportunity, or gelegenheit, that awaits Haas F1 Team at Hockenheim, is exactly what the organization wants to seize on when the lights go out on Round 12 of the Formula One schedule.