Romain Grosjean says Gene Haas is not in Formula 1 to only be a midfield team, despite the gulf to the current top three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
Haas entered F1 in 2016 and duly finished eighth in each of its first two seasons in the sport before an impressive run to fifth this year. Although a midfield team has only scored two podiums in the past two seasons — Williams and Force India both scoring one each — Grosjean says team owner Gene Haas is targeting challenging at the front the longer his team is in the sport.
“The realities of F1 are clear: There are two or three teams that have the personnel and the budget to have a realistic chance at winning races consistently,” Grosjean wrote for The Players’ Tribune. “That’s just the way it is. It’s not good or bad; it’s just like that. It can make life in the middle a little tricky.
“But I know this: Gene Haas isn’t in F1 to finish in the middle. And that’s why I’m so excited about our future. I’m excited for this winter, for testing, to see the new car. Because I believe in us. And we know, at Haas, how tough the task is in the next few years if we want to be up there with the big dogs.”
Although the top three teams currently enjoy a clear performance advantage, Grosjean points to the progress Haas has made since finishing sixth in its first race in Australia back in 2016 as central to his optimism for the coming years.
“When I look back on my career, I’ll think of that day (Australia) right away. I love that story. I loved that weekend.
“That’s because, often, F1 can seem like a sport where the underdogs have so little chance. And I know as much as anyone that it can be like that. But when results like Australia 2016 happen, and you can see firsthand what a group of determined individuals can do … it makes you believe in yourself even more.
“In the years that have followed since our first race, our Haas team has done so much growing. From everyone at the team’s headquarters in Kannapolis, North Carolina, our bases in the United Kingdom and Italy, to Gene Haas, the owner — we’ve come a long way as a team.”