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Haas F1 Team Needs To Perform This Weekend

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For American motorsports fans, this weekend is one of those big deals. As NASCAR gets set to eliminate four more drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Formula 1 hopes to take center stage with their event in Austin, Texas.

Now if only the homegrown team could have a good run…..

When Haas F1 team burst into Formula 1 last year, it created a shockwave of discussion through the racing community. While seasoned fans discussed how successful they could be, new faces turned in to see whether the Americans could make it happen. After all, there were some NASCAR people interested given the connection to Stewart-Haas Racing.

Initially, the team delivered as Romain Grosjean placed sixth and fifth in the team’s opening events, surprising critics and catching even more attention. It was debated whether it was a fluke or luck, or if the pace could be kept up, but still – people were talking.

Since then, as the results simmered off throughout 2016, the discussion became less and less. The team also took a hit at home as Grosjean only managed a 10th, while teammate Esteban Gutierrez was out of the event on Lap 16 with brake trouble.

Although the team was bursting about heightened success in 2017 due to the addition of Kevin Magnussen, there has not bee as much talk generated as those first few months.

It’s not due to total lack of performance, though. Grosjean has been solid, scoring points in six races with a best finish of sixth in Spielberg. Magnussen hasn’t been that bad, either, picking up three top-10’s in the 16 events – but knows there’s certainly room for improvement.

“When we’re quick, we’re very quick and competitive, but our lows have perhaps been a bit too low,” Magnussen said. “That’s something to work on for next year, consistency, and getting the car more regularly at its best. I think we can move towards that; whether we can constantly be a fourth best team, I don’t think so. It’s not realistic at least, but we will do what we can and see.”

Did we mention they also enter Austin after both drivers scored points in Japan?

“The mood is pretty good,” Grosjean said. “It has been since the first day, to be fair, even though the highs and lows. It was really good to have a double-points finish in Japan. Japan and Monaco, which are two very difficult tracks. So, it shows the team is making great progress.”

Rolling in the weekend with momentum, it’s apparent that both Grosjean and Magnussen perform well in Austin, once again scoring top-10’s, perhaps even breaking through with a season-best performance.

If either could manage a strong run on home soil, could you imagine the headlines and discussion following the weekend? Both would find themselves on the cover of motorsports sections across the United States, getting back the buzz that they have lost as of late.

The thought isn’t lost on Grosjean, either, as he mentioned during the pre-race press conference that it’s a special event for them. However, he’s not about to get caught up in the pressure to do well, either.

“We just need to keep our feet on the ground and start from zero every weekend and build up from there,” he said. “But you know it’s only the second year of the team, and we are fighting with Renault, Toro Rosso, Williams in the Constructors’ Championship – and they are teams that have been here for a very long time, so you can be very proud of that. We know where are our strengths, we know our weakness, and we are working on that for the future – but I think there is a lot of potential for the team to move up the ranks.”

Now let’s say they don’t reach the expectations – then what could happen? To be honest, it could cause more harm than imagined as fans will begin to lose faith, and perhaps choose to sleep in those early mornings rather than flipping the event on the television. It could also backfire in seeing future drivers get interested in the sport, looking to follow their footsteps.

Every team wants to perform, but for Haas F1 team, doing well this weekend could transfer into other things moving forward.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Ashley McCubbin is currently studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber while writing for multiple websites. She also serves on the managing staff for a select few. Born in North York, Ontario, McCubbin currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area where she enjoys taking photos and working on websites.

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