Sunday, October 22, 2017

Is Haas F1 truly America's Team?

Kevin Magnussen at this year's Japanese Grand Prix. (Image source:
Obviously the short answer is Yes. Yet in Uh-mericun' parlance, that euphemism is traditionally bestowed upon the Dallas Cowboys...

Haas F1 Team
2016 Constructor Ranking: 8th (29 points)
Debut Race: 2016 Australian GP
Team Principal: Guenther Steiner
Chief Designer: Rob Taylor
Chief Aerodynamicist: Ben Agathangelou
Base:  Kannapolis, North Carolina USA; Banbury, Oxfordshire UK

Model: VF-17
Engine: Ferrari

#8. Romain Grosjean, France
#20. Kevin Magnussen, Denmark

Test Drivers
Santino Ferruci, Antonio Giovinazzi and Arjun Maini

While I never saw the original Haas Lola, or FORCE Formula 1 team run in anger in 1985-86, since I hadn't even learned of Formula 1 yet, not to mention I hugely doubt I'd have traveled to Detroit for a Grand Prix race, I'd hoped to celebrate the arrival of the Haas F1 Team 30yrs later at
Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) last year, before electing to skip attending the USGP.

And whilst I get A-L-L of the Hype during every Stateside TV Broadcast, when it behooves NBC Sports to re-broadcast it! And am happy we've got a team, I'm definitely long since past grown tired of this non-stop Nationalistic Jingoism.

And while I tend to overlook the facts, as a F1 "Purist," I struggle mightily with the idea of Haas being a true, bonafied Constructor, especially from what little I can discern, Haas's chassis are still built by Italy's Dallara.

Team Summary
Current Position: 7th
Current Points: 43

Haas F1 is owned by Gene Haas, whose of NO relation to the late Carl Haas, longtime North American Lola Cars importer, Co-owner of the past Newman Haas Racing CART (IndyCar) team and the aforementioned Haas/Lola F1 Team of 1985-86.

Gene Haas's core business is his Haas Automation CNC Milling machines, which reputedly are utilized around the world including Italy, where Open Wheel Racing chassis manufacturer Stalwart Dallara resides.

The team's primary base of operations is situated in Kannapolis, NC, alongside the team's Stewart Haas Racing's 'RASSCAR shop, which currently fields Ford Fusions for Clint Boyer, Kurt Bush, Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick. And claims that the two teams are separate entities.

Thus, with Dallara being tasked of building the Haas VF chassis, I can only surmise this means that the Haas Formula 1 racecars are simply assembled in Kannapolis. Whilst wisely, Haas purchased the ex-Manor Racing facility in Banbury for use as it's European base during the racing season proper.

The team's led by Guenther Steiner, a no-nonsense manager whose from Uhm, Italy, as Betcha didn't see that coming? And his father was a Butcher, Chop-chop!

As Guenther has a lengthy motorsports career, beginning as a Rally car mechanic before multiple managerial positions, including stints at Jaguar and Red Bull Racing F1 Squads, before relocating to North Carolina to oversee Red Bulls NASCAR operation.

As the team scored a sixth place finish on its debut Down Under at Bloody Albert Park, followed by a season's best fifth place finish, with all 29 points being scored by their lead driver Romain Grosjean.

Although the team, and particularly the Frenchman seemed to spend the entire season struggling with braking issues, which I think have somewhat carried over into this season.

Haas currently sits seventh in the coveted Constructors rankings with 43-points, just one marker ahead of Renault, who's nipping at its heals, and obviously is aiming to leapfrog Haas with the current installation of Carlos Sainz, Jr. to the team, with four rounds remaining.

Within striking distance in the points table are Team Willy' and Toro Rosso, as Williams currently lies fifth overall with 66-points whilst thee 'lil Bulls', nee Scuderia Toro Rosso currently have 52-points...

For a brief prospectus upon Haas F1 Team's drivers, see; Haas F1 Team's 2017 Driver's Quintet

Haas F1 Team's 2017 Driver's Quintet

An eclectic look-see at Americres' Team's Formula 1 Driver roster...

In la tipicali No fendersville tradition, I just kept on typing 'N typing, and hence broke another No Fenders story into two-part Harmony, with my random thoughts upon Haas's current Gran Primo Pilotes' below...

Romain Grosjean
Car No. 8
Position: 13th
Points: 28

I still bristle over my Numero Uno TV Announcer Bob Varsha coiffing the Frenchman as RoGro' Wayback when, while how can I ever forget Mark Handlebarz' Webber proclaiming he's a First lap Nutcase!

Yet my best memory of Grosjean comes from attending the 2013 Grands Prix at Austin where Romain finished an outstanding runner-up to then thoroughly dominant Seb Vettel, aboard the Lotus-Lotus, with the aforementioned Webber Karmically chasing Grosjean's exhaust and finishing P3!

As it's hard to remember that the fairly excitable Frenchman, when behind the Keyboard, who's not shy of voicing his opinions over the In-car radio! Won the 2011 GP2 Championship after being dumped by le Reggie' during his first Formula 1 stint in '09, before being recalled to the Enstone team in 2012.

Now in his second season at Haas, firmly established as the team leader, Romain's scored the bulk of Haas's Constructors points to date, delivering 57 of their 72 total so far, has stood atop the podium ten times in his F1 career and is a good bet to deliver the team's first podium sometime near future.

Whilst how can we not forget that scary looking accident at Malaysia, for which the team's still trying to collect the approximate $650-750k repair bill; ZOINKS!

Kevin Magnussen
Car No. 20
Position: 14th
Points: 15

MAGS' JR', in deference to his Sports Car Ace and former Open Wheeler father Jan Magnussen, or better known as Kevin Bacon' Magnussen to me, will for quite some time into the future cause a wide smile to creep across Thy Cheeks... As he'll forever be remembered for telling his Bosom Buddy thee Incredible Hulkster', nee Nico Hulkenberg the following zinger, when the Dane' retorted:

Suck My Balls, Honey!

As the two Young Turks were in petchalant form when Hulkenberg interrupted Magnussen when On-Air during an interview to proclaim his displeasure over Kevin's driving style...

Hmm? Who was that Renault driver forcing thou Iceman', aka Kimi Raikkonen totally Off track during the Japanese Grand Prix?

I've been a fan of Magnussen's awhile now, albeit having somewhat cooled this season due to his overly aggressive driving antics, as seems to me he's played Pinball Wizard with several others On-track, like didn't he and the jettisoned Joly' (Jolyon Palmer) have a Dust-up?

And his pass upon Felipe Massa? At Suzukre' was textbook MAGS', being so forceful that it not only netted him the points paying position, but allowed his team-mate Grosjean to follow thru, with the TV Announcers having great frivolity over the Team Haas pass!

but how can you not admire Kevin's hard charging driving style? Which after all, enabled him to win the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series title, As he seems to have somewhat settled down and found a home after single season stints at McLaren and Renault, where ironically Hulkenberg took his seat this year.

As this is probably Kevin's best season overall? Even though he started off mercurially at McLaren with a runner-up finish on debut Down Under, but then the boil went off at Woking and his Renault adventure was short lived...

Test Drivers
This trio 'O "Junior Drivers" is a quite diverse grouping, with Italy's Antonio Giovinazzi, the 2016 GP2 runner-up actually having contested his first two Formula 1 races at the beginning of the year as Pascal Wehrlein's substitute at Sauber, before returning to Ferrari test driver status.

'Yank Santino Ferruci
has jumped from a second partial season in GP3 to the FIA F2 Championship beginning at Hungary for Trident, currently languishing 22nd Overall with 4-points scored, with just the Abu Dhabi season finale remaining.

While India's Arjun Maini is completely unknown to Mwah, albeit currently contesting his sophomore season in GP3 for Jensor Motorsport. Having finished 10th overall in 2016 and scoring his maiden GP3 win at Barcelona's Sprint race this year...

Friday, October 20, 2017

F1: 2017 USGP Tidbits

By now, Y'all know that Kiwi' racing Bad Arse Brendon Hartley will be making his Formula 1 Debut this weekend at Circuit Of The Americas, nee COTA for thee 'lil Bulls', aka Scuderia Toro Rosso as Pierre Gasley's substitute.

As the 27yr old New Zealander has established quite the reputation in Sports Cars, as a Hired Gun for Porsche in the World Endurance Championship, (WEC) having won the 2015 title, along with this year's 24 Heurs du Mans!

As I've got NO idea if this changes his plans for 2018? Since the strong rumour is that he'll become Countryman Scott Dixon's team-Mate at Chip Ganassi Racing in Indy Cars.

But what driver would pass up the possibility of racing in Formula 1 instead? As Hartley's CV seems quite superior vs. Daniil Kvyat's. While Hartley appears to be a Hondre' Man who will be Toro Rosso's PU supplier next year...

Meanwhile, as 'Ol Fred Suave, nee Fernando Alonso keeps toying with us over his contract extension at McLaren next year. Alonso has announced he'll wear an Indy 500 motif crash bucket at this year's USGP in honour of his stellar rookie drive at Mother Speedway this past May...