Romain Grosjean’s performances in 2016 saved Haas from “a world of hurt”, according to team owner Gene Haas.
Ahead of its debut season in Formula One, Haas managed to entice Grosjean to leave Lotus – later taken over by Renault – to join his team. The Frenchman delivered immediately with sixth place at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix followed by fifth in Bahrain. With Grosjean again scoring points in Russia, he had amassed 22 points from the first four races.
While the form tailed off, Grosjean was responsible for all 29 of the team’s points in 2016 and Haas says that return showed he was worth the investment.
“I tell you, if it wasn’t for those 29 points we would have been in a world of hurt,” Haas told ESPN. “So that in itself, just scoring those points, was worth every penny with him coming on board. I’m disappointed we couldn’t keep that same rate as we could have got 100 points [by season’s end], but I’m very happy with what we got.”
With Kevin Magnussen replacing Esteban Gutierrez next season, Haas highlights the Dane’s ability to bring home points as one of the reasons why the team made the change.
“I think Kevin brings a racer’s perspective to the team. I think he’s good at getting points when you need to, which is extremely difficult to do – you can be extremely fast in qualifying and individual laps, but racing on race day is a another discipline. There are some people who are really great at it.
“We were talking to Kevin even before Grosjean [in 2015], we knew that he had a lot of potential. I’ve watched him drive around a lot of circuits and watched him in traffic and I think he has the ability to grab points when we need to, and that’s what we need.”
INTERVIEW: Christian Horner on Red Bull rising
2016 driver ratings: 12-1
2016 driver ratings: 24-13
2016 team-by-team review: Part one
2016 team-by-team review: Part two
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter