Romain Grosjean believes it is realistic for Haas to be targeting fourth-place in the constructors’ championship this season.
After finishing eighth in its first two years in Formula 1, Haas made a significant step forward in 2018 as it registered a best-ever finish of fifth in the overall standings.
Speaking at the launch of the team’s new-look black-and-gold livery under new title sponsor Rich Energy, Grosjean expects another tight scrap among the midfield outfits in 2019 but sees no reason why Haas can’t fight for P4.
“Realistically, I think the top three teams are going to still be at the front because of their resources,” Grosjean told the official Formula 1 website.
“The midfield could be quite tight, and it’s exciting to be in the fight, but we will be fighting for fourth in the constructors’ championship. It’s something we have an eye on – although of course first we’ve got to see how the car is in testing.”
Team-mate Kevin Magnussen shares Grosjean’s optimism ahead of his third campaign for the American outfit and feels the team will only grow stronger this year.
“Last year we took a big step from 2017 to 2018,” he said. “I don’t think we can expect to take as big a step again but we can expect to keep improving and stay on the rise.
“I really don’t expect us to take a step back, I think we’re going to continue to grow. But we need to improve, and we need to grow even to hold onto fifth.
“Probably this year the improvements and the step forward will be less visible, most likely. But I can see how we are growing as a team and we are gaining more and more experience, [and] we’re learning with that experience that we’re gaining, also, to make use of that experience. I’m positive.”
Team principal Gunther Steiner recited that fourth had been possible last year if inexperience hadn’t influenced mistakes on the team’s part.
When asked if Haas were aiming for fourth this season, Steiner replied: “For sure, we will try. You always need to try to get better.
“That is the most important thing. I always say, as long at the end of the season we can say we did better as a team in general… that’s getting better.
“Fourth last year was possible without a few mistakes we made because of our inexperience, I would say – we could have got that. We finished fifth but that doesn’t mean we stop there. We want to get better.”