SJB Classic Article - Haas Launch Their First F1 Car, the VF-16


Originally Posted on SJB Supercars - http://www.sjbsupercars.com/single-post/2016/02/21/Haas-Launch-Their-First-F1-Car-the-VF16


February 21, 2016 | Sean Smith

The 2016 rookie team Haas F1 have revealed their car, set to run in less than 24hours. Sean Smith reports on the car he has been waiting for eagerly.

 

Contrary to my earlier article on the McLaren and Mercedes being the last cars to show their faces before the pre-season gets underway, Haas F1 showed off their new VF-16 to the world this afternoon and in my opinion it is a properly good looking machine.

It’s no secret that Haas have not made this car from the ground up. With every part that could be bought off Ferrari installed on it, chassis by Indycar, GP2, GP3 and F3 chassis design company Dallara and extensive aerodynamic testing at Ferrari’s Maranello wind tunnel, the Haas is an awful lot more Italian than it is American.

The reason I have a particular fondness for this car is the fact it is what I would have drawn up when it comes to the ridiculous FIA nose rules. Instead of a thumb design like the Ferrari, McLaren and Williams, or an uninteresting square like the Mercedes and last years Lotus, Haas/Dallara have designed a beautiful rounded and swooping nose that allows for sculpted front wing pylons, also limited by FIA rules. The front wing is pretty as well and looks competently designed without the overkill levels of winglets seen on particularly Red Bull cars. The endplates will certainly be developed through the cars life but for now the whole package looks like it is a solid base to start from aerodynamically.

Moving further back down the car the nose arcs up with a weird hump towards the top above the suspension, this is assumedly for packaging but I do wonder why it is there when no other team has it. The hump was on this car’s cousin, the Hispania F112, which was also a Dallara built chassis, in fact the Haas reminds me very much of my favorite looking car of that 2012 season. Although clearly a step up aerodynamically it’s clear Dallara didn’t throw away their last design entirely and the VF-16 has taken some of the knowledge gained from that previous venture for itself.

Despite using all of Ferrari’s internals, the engine cover of the Haas is undoubtedly different to the works car. Although it does feature the louvres next to the driver’s head rest; the rear of the car is a lot straighter and wider than the Ferrari SF16-H. It will be interesting to see if either car suffers more from cooling issues over the other or if there are just multiple ways to vent the heat from the Italian power unit.

The remainder of the Haas is similar to the front wing, relatively generic, all a solid base aerodynamically and certainly not finessed to the n’th degree. If the team has the budget and commitment I believe they have I see absolutely no way they will be beaten by back marking teams like Sauber and Manor. The driver talent in Romain Grosjean at least will be enough for points I would expect from the first couple of races, the Swiss born driver will probably be challenging his ex-team Renault, McLaren and Toro Rosso if the grid is as pundits suggest straight away in the lower reaches of the top 10. His team mate Esteban Gutierrez will struggle to match him, although I hope his year out at Ferrari has improved him significantly from his final season at Sauber so he can give this car a fair representation on track which both he and the team deserve and perhaps keep Grosjean honest in the race to push them both on.

The Haas VF-16 may win all the beauty awards, but the whole car’s future will depend on the team understanding how to work in the high speed organisation of Formula 1 in terms of developing the car, finding weaknesses quickly, attacking the problems with speed and sureness in implementing the correct changes, understanding the pit stop procedures and not making mistakes in race situations. This will be crucial in keeping the team morale up when they know this initial year will probably be the hardest with the most start up rookie errors involved. I hope they make it, because this car is too beautiful to be a failure.

 

Tell us your views on the new Haas VF-16, where do you think the team will be in the pecking order come Australia? Get in contact with us at SJB via Facebook, search SJB Supercars, via Twitter @SJBSupercars and follow us on Instagram.

 

 

(Images courtesy of haasf1team.com, badgergp.com and autosport.com - please click on the images for the original sources.)