With how well they performed this season, it’s easy to forget how young Haas still is. 2018 was their third full season in F1, which makes it more impressive how well they did by finishing fifth, marginally behind Renault, a works team.
That build-up to that first Grand Prix for Haas in Australia was far from ideal, though, as Grosjean explains in a column he wrote for The Players’ Tribune.
“Our first Grand Prix in Australia in 2016 was chaotic,” he wrote.
“We didn’t get a lot of laps in pre-season testing so we had barely any info on the car going into Melbourne. Then it rained on Friday, so no laps. We didn’t even know if the radio worked.
“Then Saturday, we finally got out of the garage and someone hit us in the pit lane. We had to change the floor of the car and we missed even more time. Then qualifying was a disaster because F1 had implemented that new, ridiculous elimination-style quali that ended up getting removed a few weeks later. Remember that? Anarchy, man, anarchy.”
At the end of Saturday, Grosjean had put his Haas in P19 in qualifying, three tenths ahead of teammate Esteban Gutierrez. Despite the bad qualifying and the chaotic preparations, though, something quite special happened during the actual race.
“P6. In the points. Unbelievable. Truly amazing.
“Beforehand, we thought we might be lucky to finish the race. Our telemetry failed during the Grand Prix. Our radio failed at times. Our car hadn’t even driven a full race distance leading up to that weekend.
“That whole day was really, really special. I remember seeing our team principal, Guenther Steiner. His face showed how proud he was of everyone in the garage. It was just relief. Love and excitement going around the whole Haas area of the paddock.
“When I look back on my career, I’ll think of that day right away. I love that story. I loved that weekend.”