Gene Haas has admitted 2019 was a difficult year for his eponymous Formula 1 team, but is hopeful the lessons-learned will help them return to prominence this season.
Quoted in a statement released alongside the team’s livery reveal for the 2020 season, the 67-year-old American indicated he is expecting his team to put their annus horribilis firmly in the rear-view.
“Frankly, I’m hoping the VF-20 will return us to the kind of form we ran in 2018 when we finished fifth in the constructors’ championship,” he said.
“2019 was a tough season to endure. We’ve been through a real education process, one that comes to all Formula One teams at some stage. I’m trusting we’ve learned from those lessons and have applied that knowledge into making the VF-20 a more competitive entry.
“It’s important to me that we’re back in the mix and consistently scoring points, we certainly have the capability and we’ve proved as an organization we can do it.”
Since entering the sport in 2016, Haas was able to show year-on-year improvement before finishing 9th in the 2019 constructor’s championship with 28 points — a 65-point decrease from 2018, and a point worse than their debut season.
In last year’s VF-19, Haas was saddled with a car that was at-best temperamental and at-worst completely devoid of pace. Across its two cars driven by Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, the team had more retirements (nine) than points-scoring finishes (seven), as issues with the chassis proved impossible to resolve.
Speaking alongside his boss, team principal Guenther Steiner expressed that he too is hoping for a return-to-form in 2020.
“Undoubtedly the VF-20 has to deliver where our previous car didn’t. With the regulations remaining stable into this season, it’s allowed us to improve our understanding of the car and to scrutinize ourselves more in order to find solutions and applications to channel into the design of the VF-20.
“Last year was definitely a set-back, one I would never have asked for, but you learn from such situations – we all have. Everybody at the team was forced to look at themselves and understand what they can do better.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the VF-20 make its track debut. As always in testing, you want many things, but lots of mileage, reliability and speed would be welcomed as we ready ourselves for the first race in Australia.”