Haas is a new name to Formula 1 fans, but it isn't a new one in motor sport. Gene Haas formed a new NASCAR team in 2002 and has been winning races, and championships, ever since. Haas first submitted a bid to enter F1 in 2010 but failed. However, when the Marussia team collapsed during the 2014 season Haas purchased their Banbury, Oxfordshire headquarters and then took their place on the grid for the 2016 season.
Haas entered F1 with a little controversy behind them. To keep costs down they approached a lot of independent manufacturers to make parts for them, but their biggest relationship was with Ferrari, who supplied the power unit for the team as well as a lot other aspects of the overall package. Other midfield teams like McLaren were highly critical of just how similar Haas' 2016 car was to the 2015 Ferrari. However, no formal complaint was submitted, and Haas' relative success, a 6th place finish in their first race and 8th of 11 in the Constructors' Championship, showed a more accessible way for new teams to enter Formula 1.
Haas are yet to win a race or even step on a podium, but they are now a firm fixture in the F1 midfield. They claimed 5th place in the 2018 Constructors' Championship. Can you take them to the next level in F1 2018?
Haas F1 expect "Lots Of Points" from you if you take a seat with them. That is understandable, they don't want to slide backwards in the Constructors' Championship. However, this car ranks fifth in overall vehicle performance, putting them right on the edge of the points if all goes well. This means that you will need to work hard and out-perform the car early on if you want to score good points every race. Haas also look for showmanship in their drivers. This means you should be poking fun at rivals and talking up your own performance when you get the chance in interviews.
If you really want to score "Lots Of Points" and drive Haas forward toward a championship then you'll have to get involved in improving the car and developing aspects of the car to make it faster.
Haas have a very well-rounded package that doesn't lack in any one single area. They rank 5th in chassis and powertrain, and 6th in aerodynamics. This means that you don't immediately have to dive into one department to fix a problem as you do with several other teams, but are instead free to build up each department equally.
When you start a career with Haas you get 1,750 resource points to put straight to work. You can go straight to the aerodynamic department and order up a quality control modifier and both the opening minor upgrades if you like, or jump into the powertrain department to get the efficiency upgrade and the first minor upgrade too.
In each department you have a major upgrade within reach. But where are the ultimate ones? Let's take a look at the unlocked R&D tree.
Haas' ultimate upgrades are a long, hard, path away. you have to get through 5 minor and 2 major upgrades in any department to find an ultimate upgrade, and most are hidden down winding branches. This makes Haas a tougher team to improve than other midfield teams.
Haas' inexperience & dependency on outside manufacturers is really made to work against them in F1 2018, and that is a very good thing. They may be a safe midfield team, but their development is trickier than other teams and means you as a driver have to work even harder to get them up the grid. Haas' status as an all-rounder will mean that you avoid poor races and there are no tracks where the car becomes undrivable. You can log solid points almost everywhere, but bridging the gap to the big three teams will be a lot of hard work.
This means that a championship may be impossible until season 3 if you set your AI difficulty correctly, but that's not a bad thing. Success without struggle is hollow, but Haas will provide you with that struggle in F1 2018.